Biden accepts the resignation of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus

Biden accepts the resignation of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus

Washington – President Biden on Saturday accepted the resignation of his administration’s Senate-confirmed Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus, who was asked to resign by Department of Homeland Security leaders frustrated with his leadership.

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

“I tender my resignation with immediate effect, but I wish you and your administration all the best for the future. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity,” Magnus wrote.

Chris Magnus
FILE – Chris Magnus, then-nominee for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington DC on October 19, 2021.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 19: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus, nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing at the Dirksen Senate office in Washington DC on October 10

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has confirmed the president has accepted Magnus’ resignation, which marks one of the most high-profile departures from the Biden administration, and will again leave the biggest federal law enforcement agency with no direction confirmed by the Senate.

“President Biden appreciates Commissioner Magnus’ nearly forty years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three U.S. cities,” Jean-Pierre said in his statement. 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 was struggling to respond to a record number of migrant arrests along the US-Mexico border.

Magnus, however, told several news outlets on Friday that he had no plans to resign, saying he was focused on reforming CBP, which for years has drawn progressive criticism over its handling of migrants and asylum seekers.

Before the infighting became public, Magnus had already been sidelined at CBP, with Troy Miller, a career manager, tasked with running the day-to-day operations of the agency, according to a senior DHS official who asked anonymity to discuss internal affairs. .

While DHS leaders had several concerns about Magnus and his ability to lead CBP, the senior department official cited Magnus’ strained relationship with Border Patrol, the agency tasked with apprehending and processing migrants. who enter the United States illegally.

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

“At one point, it became so clear to me that some senior DHS executives didn’t even understand what reform looked like within a law enforcement organization,” Magnus told the newspaper. .

In a message late Saturday informing CBP employees that Magnus had left the department, Mayorkas said that Miller, the head of the career agency, would become acting commissioner, a position he previously held at the start of the Biden administration. .

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

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