Biden to Nominate Tucson Police Chief to Lead Customs and Border Protection

A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols along a new section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in El Paso, Texas, August 27, 2020. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuter)

President Biden on Monday announced he would issue nominations to fill six leadership roles at the Department of Homeland Security, including the nomination of Tucson, Ariz. police chief Chris Magnus to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Biden will tap Magnus, who has been characterized as having “extensive experience in addressing immigration issues,” because of Tucson’s closeness to the southern border, according to Fox News.

Magnus previously served as police chief in Fargo, N.D. and Richmond, Calif., as well. He was thrust into the national spotlight when a picture of him in uniform holding a Black Lives Matter sign during a protest in Richmond went viral, according to the New York Times

Last June, he offered to resign from his post as chief of the Tucson police while releasing a video in which a 27-year-old Latino man, Carlos Ingram Lopez, died in custody, according to the report. However, Mayor Regina Romero did not accept the resignation.

He had been a critic of the immigration policies of former President Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, saying they made it more difficult for police to crackdown on crime.

“The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and Mr. Sessions’s reckless policies ignore a basic reality known by most good cops and prosecutors,” Magnus wrote in a New York Times opinion piece in 2017. “If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses.”

Biden will also issue other nominations for top immigration and Department of Homeland Security roles including Ur Jaddou as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Jen Easterly as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; Jon Meyer as general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security; Rob Silvers as undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans for the Department of Homeland Security; and John Tien, deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

“I am excited that President Biden has nominated an extraordinary group of individuals for critical leadership positions in the Department of Homeland Security,” Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a press release scheduled to be shared on Monday, according to Fox News. 

“They are highly-regarded and accomplished professionals with deep experience in their respective fields.  Together they will help advance the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” the statement adds.

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