Biden Accepts Resignation of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus

Washington — President Biden on Saturday accepted the Senate-confirmed resignation of Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus. that had been asked to resign with Department of Homeland Security leaders disillusioned with his leadership.

In a brief resignation letter to Mr. Biden, Magnus, who had earned a reputation as a progressive law enforcement reformer while serving as police chief in Tucson, Arizona, Richmond, California, and Fargo, North Dakota, he said it was a “privilege and honor” to serve on the administration.

“I am submitting my resignation effective immediately, but I wish you and your management the best going forward. Thank you again for this tremendous opportunity,” Magnus wrote.

Chris Magnus
FILE — Chris Magnus, then-designate for commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office building in Washington, on Oct. 19, 2021.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 19: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus, a nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. in October.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the president has accepted Magnus’ resignation, which marks one of the highest-profile departures of the Biden administration and will again leave the largest federal law enforcement agency without Senate-confirmed leadership. .

“President Biden appreciates Commissioner Magnus’ nearly four decades of service and his contributions to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three US cities,” Jean-Pierre said in her statement. “The President thanks Mr. Magnus for his service to CBP and wishes him well.”

Magnus’ resignation comes just a day after it was revealed that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had lost confidence in his ability to lead CBP at a time when the agency is struggling to respond to record numbers of immigration arrests along the US-Mexico border .

Magnus, however, told multiple news outlets Friday that he had no intention of resigning, saying he was focused on reforming CBP, which for years has drawn progressive criticism for its treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers.

Before the internal conflict was made public, Magnus had already been sidelined at CBP, with Troy Miller, a career official, charged with leading day-to-day operations at the agency, according to a senior DHS official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. . .

While there were several concerns among DHS leaders about Magnus and his ability to lead CBP, the department’s senior official cited Magnus’ close relationship with the Border Patrol, the agency responsible for apprehending and processing immigrants who cross into the US illegally.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Magnus defended his leadership, saying his efforts to reform the Border Patrol have been met with resistance.

“At some point, it became so clear to me that some in the top leadership of DHS didn’t understand what reform looked like in a law enforcement agency,” Magnus told the newspaper.

In a message late Saturday informing CBP officials that Magnus had left the department, Mayorkas said Miller, the agency’s career official, would become acting commissioner, a position he previously held during the early days of the Biden administration. .

“We are grateful to Commissioner Magnus for his contributions over the past year and wish him the best of luck,” Mayorkas said in a message obtained by CBS News.

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