Mayorkas asked for border chief Chris Magnus’ resignation; he refused

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asked Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus to resign this week but he refused, according to news reports.

Mr. Magnus told The Los Angeles Times that he was told Wednesday to leave or he would be fired. He refused to resign.

“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,” Mr. Magnus told the newspaper.

CBP oversees the country’s borders and has seen record levels of chaos along the boundary with Mexico. It began at the start of the Biden administration, or well before Mr. Magnus was installed as commissioner last December.

But the numbers continued to spiral out of control on Mr. Magnus’s watch.

Border Patrol agents and Republicans on Capitol Hill blame Mr. Mayorkas. Indeed, if the GOP takes control of the House there will likely be an effort to impeach the secretary.

CBP recorded nearly 2.4 million encounters with unauthorized migrants in fiscal year 2022.

Mr. Mayorkas, though, appears to be fingering Mr. Magnus as the hurdle to better borders.

Homeland Security didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Magnus was chief of police in Tucson, Arizona, before taking the commissioner’s job amid the border chaos last year. The Senate confirmed him to the post on a 50-47 vote.

Border Patrol agents have questioned his leadership because of the ongoing migrant surge. But so have immigrant-rights activists, who say the administration’s recent embrace of Trump-era get-tough policies to combat record illegal activity is a bad step.

Mr. Mayorkas is slated to appear on Capitol Hill for testimony next week, and the border situation is likely to come up.

Homeland Security has three immigration agencies: CBP, which polices the borders and ports of entry; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles detention, deportation and interior enforcement; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles legal immigration.

Getting people to head the agencies has been tricky, given the incendiary politics of immigration on Capitol Hill.

ICE has been without a confirmed director for nearly six years, dating back to the end of the Obama administration. Several picks by President Trump and President Biden have failed to win confirmation in the Senate.

CBP had been without a confirmed commissioner for the last two and a half years of the Trump administration, and most of Mr. Biden’s first year. Getting a replacement for Mr. Magnus could prove nearly impossible.

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