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House Republicans call for resignation of Biden border chief

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.)
Greg Nash

A group of House Republicans on Tuesday called on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus to resign in the wake of a report that alleged the official is “unengaged at his job.”

In a letter to President Biden requesting Magnus’s resignation, 16 Republicans led by Rep. Jody Hice (Ga.) cited the report by Politico, where five unnamed officials leveled accusations against Magnus.

“According to a recent report by Politico, Commissioner Magnus continually fails to attend high-level meetings regarding the border crisis. Even worse, he was caught sleeping through some of the meetings he actually attended,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter first reported by the Daily Caller.

“The report goes on to detail Commissioner Magnus’ constant complaining about his fellow senior officials in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instead of focusing on the CBP mission to secure our border,” they added.

Magnus, a former Tucson, Ariz., police chief, was chosen by Biden in part because he spoke out against the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigrants and its negative effect on relations between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

Still, Magnus’s background in policing rather than immigration and border enforcement raised some questions about his ability to take on a complex agency amid historically high border crossings.

“More than ever, we need a commissioner who understands the complexity of border policy and the innerworkings of the CBP agency. Commissioner Magnus has admitted that during his first ten months in office he spent more time learning the ‘many complex areas of CBP’ rather than leading on the massive issues at the border,'” the lawmakers wrote.

But the complaints also levied anonymous accusations that questioned Magnus’s push against the internal culture of the Department of Homeland Security, CBP and the Border Patrol, a CBP agency.

Officials cited in the Politico story complained that Magnus is focused on addressing the longstanding allegations of racism in the Border Patrol.

One of Magnus’s first moments in the national spotlight was in 2014, when as chief of the Richmond, Calif., police department, he held up a Black Lives Matter sign during racial equality protests.

While the appointment of an outsider with little immigration enforcement experience rattled the culture of CBP, complaints against Magnus also seem to have an interagency component.

For instance, the anonymous administration officials said Magnus ruffled feathers by calling a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to address complaints that Border Patrol agents had against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a separate DHS agency led by Director Tae Johnson.

Still, the GOP lawmakers focused their letter on the more than 2 million migrant apprehensions at the southwest border in fiscal 2022, a key campaign issue.

“Mr. President, it is imperative that the leader of CBP not only understand the border but has a deep and keen understanding of immigration policies. The CBP Commissioner should be engaged on these issues and not asleep at the wheel during the largest border crisis in U.S. history,” they wrote.

Tags Biden Border Patrol CBP Chris Magnus Customs and Border Protection immigration Jody Hice Jody Hice President Biden

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