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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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Border officials find ‘sophisticated’ drug tunnel with rail system, electricity, from Tijuana to San Diego



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Earlier this week U.S. authorities announced the discovery of a “fully operational” and “sophisticated” tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border, reaching from Tijuana to San Diego.

Authorities confirmed 1,700-foot tunnel that ends in a San Diego warehouse near the U.S. Border Protection Otay Mesa Port of Entry was used to traffic drugs.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy Grossman said the 61-foot deep and four feet across at the widest part was complete with “reinforced walls, a rail system, and electricity for ventilation.”

Authorities stated a whopping $25 million worth of drugs were seized form within the tunnel over the weekend. Fox News reports that among the drugs were “1,762 pounds of cocaine, 165 pounds of meth, and 3.5 pounds of heroin.”

Authorities found the tunnel after surveilling a truck that was going to and from the warehouse with large boxes. “In a span of a few hours, agents watched five vehicles come and go from the stash house and this warehouse, we allege that the defendants were driving into the garage and loading or dropping off cardboard boxes full of drugs to further the movement or distribution of drugs throughout the United States, the federal agents were watching the whole time,” Grossman said.

After raiding the warehouse, authorities found no other drugs, but did spot the tunnel opening carved onto the floor.

“There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” Grossman said. “We will take down every subterranean smuggling route we find to keep illicit drugs from reaching our streets and destroying our families and communities.”

Fox News reports six California residents, aged 21 to 55, were arrested and charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, meth, and heroin. “Together with the Mexican government, we have been collaborating in trying to eradicate these tunnels, which should not exist because that is where a lot of crime happens, and a lot of the suffering that we see,” U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar told the news outlet Zeta. “This needs to stop.”

Fox News adds “authorities said that drug-smuggling tunnels are not uncommon. They are usually used by drug smugglers to evade authorities and transport a large quantity of drugs. More than 15 tunnels have been found since 2006, officials said.”

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