Trump admin names new Border Patrol chief

Trump admin names new Border Patrol chief
© Twitter

The Trump administration on Tuesday got its new Border Patrol chief, according to an announcement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan named Ron Vitiello as his replacement in a post on the agency’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ron Vitiello as U.S. Border Patrol Chief,” McAleenan wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Associated Press said Tuesday, meanwhile, that Vitiello was backed by the Border Patrol agents’ union before his selection that night.

The AP said the National Border Patrol Council actively supported Vitiello for the role after enthusiastically endorsing Trump’s presidential bid early last year.

Vitiello was most recently CBP’s executive assistant commissioner for operations support, it added, having first joined the Border Patrol more than 30 years ago.

The agency veteran was also acting Border Patrol chief when his predecessor was appointed last year, the AP noted, also serving as deputy chief in the Obama administration.

Vitiello’s appointment does not require Senate confirmation and comes under a week after Mark Morgan resigned as Border Patrol chief.

Morgan reportedly left the agency one day after Trump signed a controversial executive directive ordering the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Current and former U.S. officials had confirmed Morgan’s Jan. 26 departure, but reports were unclear whether he resigned or had been asked to exit the post.

Trump had signed an executive order the previous day directing federal agencies to fulfill his longstanding campaign pledge to construct a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A nation without a borders is not a nation,” he said while announcing the order at the Department of Homeland Security. "Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.”

Trump repeatedly pledged during his 2016 presidential run that Mexico would ultimately pay for a wall separating it from the U.S., while Mexico’s government has denied it will foot the project's bill.

Various estimates put the cost of the project at anywhere between $8-25 billion.