The US Customs and Border Protection Chief Chris Magnus sensationally resigned just a day after reports emerged that he was being told to leave or risk being fired over the ongoing border crisis and his alleged falling asleep during meetings.
In a letter to President Joe Biden dated November 12, Magnus, 62, wrote: ‘Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Senate confirmed Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection over the past year. It has been a privilege and honor to be part of your administration.’
He added that his resignation was effective immediately. It was accepted by the president.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: ‘The President has accepted the resignation of Christopher Magnus, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
She continued: ‘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. The President thanks Mr. Magnus for his service at CBP and wishes him well.’
Chris Magnus appears before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill
A family of Venezuelan migrants, crossing the border to the United States on October 28, to surrender to the border patrol with the intention of seeking the parole process for Venezuelans
On Friday, both the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had asked for Magnus’ resignation.
Magnus was confirmed in December as commissioner of the CBP, a 60,000-person agency that oversees border security, trade and travel.
He worked for police departments in Michigan, North Dakota and California before becoming the police chief in Tucson, Arizona, in 2016.
Earlier this week, Magnus said he would not resign and defended his commitment to the agency, according to the reports, despite the increase in border apprehensions and asylum seekers crossing the southern border during his tenure.
The number of migrant arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border has soared to record highs under Biden, a Democrat who took office in 2021, fueling attacks by Republicans who say his policies are too lenient.
Federal authorities arrested more than 2.493 million immigrants during the 2022 fiscal year, which ended September 30. That far exceeded last year’s record of more than 1.7 million arrests.
Biden officials have said they aim to create a more orderly and humane immigration system, but have struggled to handle the operational and political challenges that have accompanied the high level of crossings.
Magnus’s removal is part of a larger shakeup expected at Homeland Security as it struggles to manage migrants coming from a wider range of countries, including Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
This comes as Republicans are likely to take control of the House in January and are expected to launch investigations into the border.
It means for the Fiscal Year ending September 30th, there was a total of 2,378,944 encounters – the highest level ever recorded by the department
In total, there were 227,547 encounters along the southwest land border in September, a 12 percent increase compared to August – ending the fiscal year at an all-time high
In a damning Politico report in October, he was accused of skipping White House gatherings and falling asleep during meetings.
Magnus was charged with caring more about reforming the agency’s culture – including charges of racism and violence – instead of addressing the influx of migrants along the southern border.
Magnus also sought to blame other federal agencies for the high number of border crossings, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CBP secures the border while ICE is responsible for arresting and detaining undocumented people that cross over.
‘He’s not in the game,’ one of the five administration officials cited as sources in the story told the news outlet. ‘Every time there’s a meeting and he’s in it, we’ll get to a conclusion and Magnus will have some sidebar issue that he wants to raise and we’re all like ‘What the f*** is that about?’
Mangus defended his tenure, saying in a statement: ‘I’ve always been someone who aggressively questions the status quo, looks for ways to do things better, and engages directly with the public and workforce.’
‘In any organization, some people are threatened by this. They don’t like it when someone questions ‘why’ certain things must be done the way they’ve always been done. I’m not here to back down to the predictable challenges from those people,’ he noted.
He explained the charges that he falls asleep in meetings as side effects of his multiple sclerosis, the neurological condition he was diagnosed with 15 years ago.
Border patrol agents process asylum seeking migrants smuggled from Mexico into Roma, Texas. Under Magnus’ tenure there has been a record-breaking surge in border crossers
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents detain a camouflaged family from Mexico in Naco, Arizona. Republicans have said they will make addressing the border a priority if they take control of the House