Schumer: Fire Customs and Border Protection leadership for 'toxic culture'

Schumer: Fire Customs and Border Protection leadership for 'toxic culture'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Schumer cites security, DHS ban in questioning TSA use of TikTok Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-N.Y.) called for incoming Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan and other top members of leadership to be fired for "toxic culture" within the agency. 

"Internal investigations aren’t enough because the leadership at CBP, particularly Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, are too callous about the way in which children and their families are treated, which is why we need untainted professionals to be brought in from outside the CBP structure immediately," Schumer said in a statement Wednesday. 


His comments came amid a tumultuous week for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP. 

The DHS inspector general released a report Tuesday that found "dangerous overcrowding" and "prolonged detention of children and adults" at facilities in the Rio Grande Valley,

The report found that 8,000 immigrants were being held at the five border facilities visited by the watchdog, 3,400 of which had been held longer than the 72 hours generally permitted under CBP standards.

Lawmakers also fumed after ProPublica reported this week about a Facebook group for current and former border agents that included derogatory posts targeting migrants and several lawmakers. DHS said it has asked the inspector general to investigate the group. 

But Schumer said the two incidents "paint a picture of a toxic culture at U.S. Customs and Border Protection that can only begin to be changed by immediately firing and replacing top leadership at the agency with law enforcement professionals who have training and expertise in working with vulnerable populations."

“The horrid conditions CBP has subjected children and families to at the border are nothing short of inhumane and downright inexcusable. Too much of CBP has been an out of control agency for too long and it must be reined in immediately," he added. 

Cleaning out top leadership at CBP would be the latest shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security since former Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Acting DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena MORE's exit in April.

DHS announced late last month that Morgan would shift from serving as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take over CBP. An ICE official said on Wednesday that Morgan will not take over as acting head of CBP until Sunday and questioned how he could be fired from a position he didn't currently hold.

After a Washington Post reporter asked the same question, a spokesman for Schumer argued that the "bottom line is he shouldn’t be there." 



"Based on the findings of Trump’s own DHS IG, there is nothing remotely defensible about their actions. I join @SenSchumer in calling for the immediate firing of the CBP leadership involved," Merkley tweeted. 

Morgan had previously served at CBP as chief of Border Patrol before being named acting head of ICE in May.