In an escalation of inside disagreements inside the Biden administration, U.S. Customs and Border Safety Commissioner Chris Magnus has been requested to resign.
In an interview with The Instances on Friday, Magnus stated he is not going to adjust to the request to step down, which he stated got here from Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.
Magnus, who is called a progressive legislation enforcement chief, struggled to ascertain a public profile after his Senate affirmation in December.
In current months, nevertheless, the previous police chief has finished extra media interviews, criticizing Republican governors who had been busing and flying migrants from the border to Democratic-controlled cities.
On Twitter, he has been vocal on about immigration points, writing that Title 42, a measure instituted in the course of the Trump administration that permits border brokers to shortly flip again migrants, “comes at a heavy cost to many asylum seekers.”
Magnus has tried to alter the tradition of Customs and Border Safety, which incorporates the Border Patrol. His targets embody including extra feminine officers and tightening guidelines for pursuing migrants fleeing in vehicles.
After criticism about offensive humor inside the ranks, together with Fb posts that made enjoyable of useless migrants and lawmakers, Magnus has clamped down on social media exercise.
The stress on Magnus comes after a shocking midterm election, with preliminary returns exhibiting Democrats performing higher than anticipated after predictions of a Republican sweep. Republicans had tried to capitalize on the administration’s dealing with of immigration — notably, the wrestle to maintain up with an rising numbers of migrants crossing the border.
Within the final fiscal yr, which led to September, U.S. Customs and Border Safety recorded greater than 2 million encounters with migrants on the border — a document excessive.
In a dialog between the 2 males on Wednesday, Mayorkas stated that he had misplaced confidence in Magnus, in accordance with Magnus.
If Magnus didn’t resign, Mayorkas would suggest his firing to President Biden, Magnus stated.
The following day, John Tien, the second in command on the Division of Homeland Safety, additionally informed Magnus that he ought to resign or else be fired inside the subsequent few days, Magnus stated.
“I expressed to him that I felt there was no justification for me to resign when I still cared deeply about the work I was doing and felt that that work was focused on the things I was hired to do in the first place,” Magnus stated.
A Division of Homeland Safety spokesperson declined to remark.
The assembly with Mayorkas got here after Magnus had determined to not proceed a “retention” bonus for the top of Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz.
Magnus stated he made the transfer as a result of Ortiz didn’t favor reforms associated to Border Patrol, together with Magnus’ cultural adjustments.
On Tuesday, Magnus had gone to a gathering of Border Patrol chiefs in El Paso after Mayorkas had ordered him to not, Magnus stated.
“After me making extensive attempts to reach [Mayorkas] and discuss the matter, I went to the meeting so I could engage with the chiefs on various issues and concerns,” Magnus stated. “I also met with Chief Ortiz to see how we might best work together moving forward.”
With the potential for the Home to flip to the Republicans, some Republican lawmakers have referred to as for Mayorkas’ impeachment, in addition to elevated oversight of his company.
“When it comes to the border, I was never comfortable saying the border was secure, but I was part of an effort with many other people to make it as secure as possible with a focus on people and technology,” Magnus informed The Instances.
A Biden administration official described Magnus as “missing in action” internally and never as vocal on immigration issues as different division leaders.
One other administration official stated that Magnus was repeatedly absent from conferences on border coverage and was not closely concerned within the decision-making on key border insurance policies. The official famous that Magnus didn’t have a lot time to grasp the company and was pushed out of the method for some key selections.
Each officers requested anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to talk publicly in regards to the concern.
Magnus stated he was not initially invited to conferences on border coverage however later attended virtually all key conferences.
John Sandweg, a former high Homeland Safety Division official in the course of the Obama administration, stated that Mayorkas most likely needs somebody to be a buffer between him and the political fallout he’s going through.
“You have the raging issues at the border, and it is not going to get any better. The secretary does not want to be the face of this,” Sandweg stated of Mayorkas.
Although Magnus wished to concentrate on cultural reforms, his main job “is the border,” Sandweg added.
Ron Vitiello, a former Border Patrol chief who led Immigration and Customs Enforcement underneath Trump, stated the Biden administration has mishandled immigration coverage.
The publicity surrounding the request for Magnus’ resignation has been counterproductive, Vitiello stated.
“I’m concerned about the workforce. This is another thing they have on their plate that is unnecessary,” he stated. “This is a distraction that takes away from the hard work they are doing and the crisis they are in.”
Magnus rose to nationwide prominence as chief of the Richmond, Calif., Police Division, and later turning into chief in Tucson.
“At one point, it became so clear to me that some in the top leadership at DHS did not understand what reform even looked like within a law enforcement organization,” he stated.
By Friday, Magnus stated, entry to his official Twitter account had been blocked.