President Donald Trump appointed Thomas Homan as the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday night, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed. The announcement came shortly after Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who said that the president's travel ban was not lawful.

Homan, who was ICE's executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations since 2013, replaced Acting ICE Director Daniel Ragsdale.

"I am confident that he will continue to serve as a strong, effective leader for the men and women of ICE," John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, said in a brief statement. "I look forward to working alongside him to ensure that we enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States consistent with the national interest."

According to the statement, Homan has been involved in immigration enforcement and law enforcement for over three decades. He was a former New York police officer and also served as the U.S. Border Patrol agent and deputy assistant director of ICE for investigations.

In 2015, Homan was given the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service as executive associate director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

"I am extremely humbled by this award but I must say that it is the hard work and dedication of the men and women of ERO who deserve the recognition. ERO is a big machine with many moving parts and whether you serve in a support position or are a law enforcement officer, everyone plays an important role and the machine will not perform if any part fails," he had said, after receiving the honor. "I can sit in DC and manage the program and develop strategies all day long. But it is the 8,000 employees who put the plans into action and cause them to succeed. They are the real heroes. I have been in law enforcement for 31 years, and I have never been so honored to work with such a hard working bunch of people in my life. They get it done everyday."

The replacement of Ragsdale comes amid growing controversy over Trump's immigration ban. Trump’s executive order aims at keeping refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. It also suspends immigration from seven countries for a period of three months.

Meanwhile, Dana Boente, the new acting attorney general, overruled the advice of Yates that the president’s travel ban was not lawful and should not be defended.

"Based upon the Office of Legal Counsel’s analysis, which found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted, I hereby rescind former Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates January 30, 2017, guidance and direct the men and women of the Department of Justice to do our sworn duty and to defend the lawful orders of our President," Boente wrote in a statement.