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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

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says We Cannot Remove ‘11 Million Undocumented Individuals’ Unlawfully in U.S.

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DHS Secretary Mayorkas

Troubling details were unearthed during the questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley asked Mayorkas about a DHS memo from September 30 which reads: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”

“Does that reasoning apply to the [1.2] million illegal immigrants who have received due process and been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge?” Grassley asked Mayorkas.

“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals, nor can we remove more than 11 million undocumented individuals, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States, who might not have final orders of removal” Mayorkas answered.

Mayorkas also stated that he had issued the due process policy after drawing on “tremendous experience not only as a member of the Department of Homeland Security but as a federal prosecutor.”

Grassley pressed Mayorkas, asking, “should any of them be removed?”

“Of course,” Mayorkas said. “I do believe that individuals who pose a public safety threat, who pose a national security threat, who pose a border security threat, should be removed, and we should be smart and effective in our use of resources, and we should focus on the well-being of our communities and prioritize individuals for removal.”

In his opening statements, Grassley addressed Mayorkas and stated, “When you allow the ACLU and open-borders immigration activists rather than career law enforcement professionals to dictate the terms of your immigration and border policies, then you shouldn’t be surprised when record-shattering numbers of people start showing up at the border to take advantage of that.”

Grassley continued, “When you run DHS like it’s an ‘Abolish ICE’ fan club, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have an illegal immigration crisis on your hands.”

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