CBP Chief Chris Magnus has resigned, after a standoff with DHS Secretary Mayorkas


US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus resigned Saturday night, the White House said in a brief statement, ending an awkward standoff between the country’s top border official and the Department’s secretary. of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.

Mayorkas asked Magnus to resign on Wednesday, but the CBP commissioner refused to go quietly, insisting he would not leave unless told to do so by the White House.

CBP commissioner says he denied homeland security secretary’s request to resign

The White House said President Biden has accepted Magnus’ resignation and appreciates his “nearly 40 years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three American cities.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, Magnus said the decision “provides me with the best path forward in my commitment to professional, innovative, community-engaged policing.”

The White House also released a copy of a letter from Magnus thanking Biden for his opportunity to serve “over the past year.” But Magnus lasted only 11 months on the job. He was confirmed by the Senate last December in a vote largely along party lines.

His brief tenure is a blow to the Biden administration, which is struggling to balance immigration pressures at the southern border with calls from Democrats for significant changes at CBP, and especially the Border Patrol.

During the Trump administration, the Border Patrol enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the president, but immigrant advocates accused it of abusing its authority and turning a blind eye to racism and sexism among its ranks.

The union that represents Border Patrol agents applauded Donald Trump’s more restrictive immigration policies and became harshly critical of Biden after he began rescinding them.

Magnus, 62, was tapped to lead the nation’s largest law enforcement agency after building a reputation as a leading law enforcement reformer during his tenure as police chief in Fargo, ND, Richmond, California. and Tucson. He was CBP’s first openly gay commissioner.

However, Magnus’ ambitions to reform CBP put him at odds with Mayorkas and top CBP leaders struggling to deal with record numbers of immigrant arrests along the Mexican border.

Magnus said he sought to make changes to policies governing high-speed vehicle chases, staff overtime practices and inspections of travelers’ cell phones at border crossings by CBP officers, among others. reform ideas. Those efforts were blocked, he said.

“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,” Magnus said as he defied attempts to oust him.

Magnus said Mayorkas was more in tune with the needs of career officials dealing with tensions at the border and did not support his reform ideas.

According to Magnus, tensions peaked Wednesday after Magnus traveled to El Paso to attend a meeting of Border Patrol sector chiefs. Mayorkas had asked him not to go. Magnus said Mayorkas later called for his resignation during a video conference, telling Magnus that he and CBP personnel had lost confidence in him and that Magnus had disobeyed him by traveling to El Paso.

CBP Deputy Commissioner Troy Miller will serve as the agency’s interim leader, Mayorkas said in an email sent to CBP staff Saturday night. Miller led CBP as its interim leader for much of 2021.

Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.

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