WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has accepted the resignation of the U.S. commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency responsible for border security, according to the White House.
Chris Magnus initially refused to step down from his post after a request from the Biden administration, a Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News.
On Saturday evening, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that Biden had accepted Magnus’ resignation and thanked him for his service to the agency. The statement included a copy of Magnus’ resignation letter, dated Saturday.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Senate Confirmed Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection for the past year. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve in your administration” , indicates the letter. “I tender my resignation with immediate effect, but I wish you and your administration all the best for the future.”
As head of CBP, Magnus, 62, oversees more than 60,000 employees whose missions focus on counterterrorism, border security and trade enforcement.
The Los Angeles Times was first to report the news that Magnus had been asked to step down.
Magnus has held the position since December 2021 after being narrowly confirmed by the Senate in a mostly partisan 50-47 vote. He previously served as chief of police in Tucson, Arizona, from 2016 to 2020, stepping down after a civilian died while in police custody. Magnus also worked as a police chief in Richmond, CA and Fargo, ND Early in his law enforcement career, he also spent 15 years as a police officer in Lansing, Michigan.
The Biden administration’s clash with Magnus comes after a Politico report in October said five current administration officials “described him as uncommitted to his job, saying he often doesn’t attend failed to attend White House meetings on the border situation, disparage other agencies to colleagues and superiors, and failed to build relationships within CBP and between other agencies to deal with the influx of migrants at the border. NBC News did not confirm the report.
Biden and congressional Democrats have been inundated with criticism from Republicans, who have sought to make the influx of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border a major midterm issue.
Magnus blamed Republican governors in September for luring more migrants to the United States by promising them free bus rides north to places like New York, Washington, DC and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He said in an interview that in some cases the governors of Texas, Arizona and Florida were “lying” to migrants about the opportunities that might await them in those cities and that it was “luring” others to come. in the USA.
In mid-September, NBC News reported that there was friction between the Biden White House and senior DHS officials over how to handle immigration, as the number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border was steadily increasing, and Republican governors were sending migrants to more Democratic-run cities.
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