CBP Commissioner Says He Denied Homeland Security Secretary’s Request to Resign



A clash between two senior Department of Homeland Security officials became public Friday when U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had asked for his resignation. after the midterm elections.

“I want to be clear: I have no intention of resigning as CBP commissioner,” Magnus said in a written statement. “I didn’t take this job as a resume builder. I came to Washington, DC — I moved my family here — because I care about this agency, its mission, and the goals of this administration.

DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Magnus, 62, is going up against a cabinet minister less than a year after being confirmed by the Senate, mostly along party lines. A record number of border arrests has fueled Republican rhetoric about the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Republicans have argued that President Biden’s less stringent policies – compared to those of former President Donald Trump – have encouraged migrants to cross the border illegally. They criticized both Mayorkas and Magnus.

Republicans slammed the Biden administration from across the border ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, calling for Magnus’ resignation and threatening to impeach Mayorkas, who is due to testify before a Senate committee next week.

Biden appointed Magnus in April 2021 to lead CBP, a massive agency with more than 60,000 border agents, customs officers and other employees that patrol the country’s ports and borders and oversee billions of dollars in cross-border trade and travel. The Senate confirmed Magnus in December.

Magnus arrived with a reputation as a seasoned leader and reformer, and he became CBP’s first Senate-confirmed head since 2019. He was also CBP’s first openly gay commissioner. He had served primarily in smaller law enforcement establishments, as chief of police in Fargo, ND; Richmond, California; and Tucson, where he took over in 2016, and he struggled to acclimate to CBP.

Sixteen House Republicans wrote to Biden on Nov. 1, demanding that he call for Magnus’ resignation, citing a Policy report portraying him as an isolated and disengaged leader who sometimes dozed off during meetings. Magnus told the outlet that he had experienced bouts of fatigue as a side effect of multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease he was diagnosed with 15 years ago, and had adjusted his medications to deal with those. effects.

But Magnus said in his statement Friday that he has a lot more to do with CBP.

“I haven’t been afraid to ask ‘why’ things are done in certain ways and I want to keep doing that,” he said. “In addition to focusing on border security and critical issues associated with irregular immigration, I am also committed to leading common sense law enforcement reforms to improve the agency’s culture and our position with the public – while respecting and supporting our workforce as they accomplish our important mission.

Border Patrol agents have faced a historic wave of migration since Biden took office, and last fiscal year’s 2.7 million border arrests, mostly on the Mexican border, hit a high. record.

US arrests along Mexico border top 2 million a year for first time

Magnus promised during his confirmation hearing to take a nonpartisan approach to enforcing immigration laws and told senators in prepared testimony that he was a “pragmatic, bipartisan problem solver.” Immigration is also personal, he said. Her father was an immigrant from Norway and her husband, Terrance Cheung, came to the United States from Hong Kong.

Magnus also acknowledged during his confirmation hearing the difficulties he would face at CBP. Immigrant advocates consistently accuse the agency of abusing its authority, while the Border Patrol union has openly supported the Trump administration’s more restrictive immigration policies and complained loudly when the Biden administration tried to cancel them.

CBP too struggled with internal resistance to taking coronavirus vaccines and suffered a wave of officer deaths.

Magnus told senators during his confirmation hearing that his goal was to enforce the laws in a “humane” and “conscientious” manner.

“Several colleagues, friends and family members have asked me, ‘What are you thinking? Why would I choose to take on the important but difficult responsibility of leading CBP at this time? Magnus said during his confirmation hearing over a year ago. “And here is my answer, which [is] the same answer I gave when I started my career in public safety in 1979: I want to make a difference.

This is a developing story.


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