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Biden picks Tucson, AZ police chief as CBP nominee

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President Joe Biden on Monday picked Tucson, Arizona police chief Chris Magnus as his nominee to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with a slate of nominees for other high-ranking immigration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jobs, the White House announced.

Biden’s choice for CBP commissioner comes at a vital juncture, with a record-breaking surge of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the past few months, especially thousands of unaccompanied children. The surge, coupled with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has caused a crisis in migrant detention facilities, where many migrants are being kept in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions with poor accommodations, among other things. Recently, there have also been allegations of sexual assault against migrant children in some of these facilities.

Magnus has been the chief of police for Tucson since 2016 and has previously led the police departments in Fargo, North Dakota and Richmond, California. “In each of these cities,” the White House press release reads, “Magnus developed a reputation as a progressive police leader who focused on relationship-building between the police and community, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and insisting on police accountability.”

“Because of Tucson’s proximity to the border,” the press release also stated, “he has extensive experience in addressing immigration issues.”

Notably, according to The Washington Post, Magnus “opposed efforts to make Tucson a ‘sanctuary city,’ but he generally eschewed cooperation with federal immigration authorities.” This put him “at odds with the Border Patrol union — and many of the agents and officials who will potentially be under his command,” according to the newspaper.

Magnus’ nomination on Monday came alongside the announcement five others for top DHS and immigration roles.

The rest of the picks consist of John Tien for deputy secretary of the DHS; Jon Meyer for general counsel of the DHS; Ur Jaddou for director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Jen Easterly for director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Rob Silvers for undersecretary for strategy, policy, and plans at the DHS.

“I am excited that @POTUS has nominated an extraordinary group of individuals for critical leadership positions in @DHSgov,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tweeted Monday.

MORE ON SEC. MAYORKAS: Report: Mayorkas weighing return to border wall construction

“They are highly regarded and accomplished professionals with deep experience in their respective fields,” Mayorkas continued. “Together they will help advance the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to ensure the safety and security of the American people. I look forward to working with the Senate in support of their swift confirmation.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Immigration

Two dozen states sending National Guard troops to U.S.-Mexico border

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“The border is secure” says Vice President Kamala Harris; yet almost two dozen states are sending up to 2,500 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. The assistance is aimed at helping federal immigration officials handle the border crisis.

“Groups that support tougher immigration restrictions say the deployment of the National Guard troops will help overburdened federal agencies deal with the surge of illegal immigration”, reports the Center Square.

The deployments were requested by the U.S. Department of Defense and Republican-led states like Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas, as well as Democratic-led states such as Rhode Island and Illinois will all be sending assistance. Other states sending troops include Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, DOD officials said.

“Several other states – Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Washington – will be providing National Guard aviation support for border operations, according to the department.”

“The U.S. Virgin Islands has also committed National Guard troops to the mission, which is being overseen by the U.S. Northern Command.”

The Center Square reports:

The troops were requested by DOD to assist U.S. Border Patrol in dealing with a surge of illegal trafficking of people, weapons and drugs into the country. The troops will work only in support missions, a Defense Department spokesman said, and are prohibited under federal law from detaining undocumented migrants or others caught crossing into the United States illegally…

…The U.S. Border Patrol has apprehended migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border more than 1.8 million times since October, breaking previous records, according to the agency. The Center Square, through its sources, reported in August the number of illegal entries is nearly 5 million since Biden began to occupy the White House in January 2020.

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