CBP chief Chris Magnus resigns, following standoff with DHS secretary – Reuters

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

Mayorkas asked Magnus to step down on Wednesday, but the CBP commissioner refused to quietly leave, insisting he wouldn’t leave unless asked by the White House.

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

The White House said President Biden had accepted Magnus’ resignation and appreciated his “nearly forty years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as three-city police chief.” American”.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Magnus said the decision “provides me with the best avenue to advance my commitment to professional, innovative, and 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 only lasted 11 months in labor. He was confirmed by the Senate last December in a largely partisan vote.

His short tenure is a blow to the Biden administration as it struggles to balance migration pressures on the southern border with calls from Democrats for meaningful changes to CBP, and especially Border Patrol.

Under the Trump administration, the Border Patrol had the president’s enthusiastic support but has been accused by immigrant advocates of abusing its authority and turning a blind eye to racism and sexism within its ranks.

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

Magnus, 62, has been chosen to lead the nation’s largest law enforcement agency after establishing a reputation as a leading law enforcement reformer during his tenures as police chief in Fargo, ND, Richmond, CA and Tucson. He was CBP’s first openly gay commissioner.

Yet Magnus’ ambitions to overhaul CBP put him at odds with mayors and top CBP officials struggling to deal with record numbers of migrant arrests along the Mexican border.

Magnus said he was looking to make changes to policies governing high-speed vehicle chases, staff overtime practices as well as CBP officers’ inspections of travelers’ cell phones at border crossings, among other things. reform ideas. Those efforts were thwarted, 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 while defying attempts to overthrow him.

Magnus said Mayorkas was more attuned to the needs of career civil servants facing border tensions and did not support his reform ideas.

According to Magnus, tensions peaked on Wednesday after Magnus traveled to El Paso to attend a Border Patrol area chiefs meeting. Mayorkas had asked him not to go. Magnus said Mayorkas then asked for his resignation in a videoconference, telling Magnus that he and CBP staff had lost faith in him and that Magnus had disobeyed him by going to El Paso.

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

Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.

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