The nation's deportation chief warned Tuesday that illegals who knew they were "home free" under former President Obama's open border policies are no longer safe from getting the boot.

"For those who get by the Border Patrol, they need to understand there's no safe haven in the United States," said Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "They got to understand, if you get by the Border Patrol, ICE is looking for you," added Homan.

He spoke to reporters on Air Force One as it carried Trump and other officials to Arizona for a rally and focus on illegal immigration.

Homan has taken Trump's immigration orders and run with them, enforcing laws Obama overlooked. The result has been a dramatic decrease in illegals crossing the border and a spike in arrests of illegals, especially those with additional criminal records, in interior United States.

Homan, who has worked in federal immigration since the Reagan years, was a top ICE official under Obama, giving him an unusual perspective in the war on illegal immigrants and how it's changed under Trump.

"Look, immigration enforcement is more meaningful when you have a true interior enforcement strategy, which we have under this president," he said.

Homan, whose name is among those many believe Trump is considering to be secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters, "I think the message being sent on interior enforcement -- which wasn't part of the last administration, not to the extent it is now -- interior enforcement is sending that clear message that if you are lucky enough to get by the Border Patrol, in the last administration you're home free unless you commit yet another crime and get arrested and get put in jail, and get convicted of that crime. Now the message is clear: If you're in the United States illegally, if you happen to get by the Border Patrol, someone is looking for you. And that message is clear and I think it has a direct impact on the decrease in apprehensions."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at