Senate confirms Trump's border chief

Senate confirms Trump's border chief
© Getty Images

The Senate on Monday easily confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's pick to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

Senators voted 77-19 to confirm Kevin McAleenan to be commissioner of the agency, with most Democrats joining Republicans to help approve his nomination. 

McAleenan has been fulfilling the role in an acting capacity, putting him at the heart of the fight over Trump's border wall and push to crack down on illegal immigration. 

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Rasmussen poll: Nearly three-quarters of Dems want 'fresh face' as nominee in 2020 Kamala Harris lands book deal MORE (D-Calif.), explaining her decision to oppose his nomination, said the agency under McAleenan has had "persistent management problems." 

That includes "a chaotic rollout of the unconstitutional Muslim ban, a lack of transparency at border patrol checkpoints, expanded enforcement activities that undermine the civil liberties of border communities, and troubling allegations of misconduct and a lack of accountability," she said.

McAleenan's nomination has been in limbo for more than a year. 

McAleenan has held a number of positions at CBP, including serving as the deputy commissioner, where he developed strategies that "protect the Nation’s borders from terrorism, and attack transnational criminal networks, while ensuring the flow of legal commerce and travel,” according to a White House press release from when he was nominated last March. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) praised him ahead of Monday's vote, noting he had been with the agency for 16 years. 

"His nomination carries the unflinching support of a bipartisan group of leaders and was thoroughly vetted in committee. Ensuring our national security means steady control over what and who comes across our border," he said.