The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chris Magnus, current police chief of the border city of Tucson, Arizona, as the new commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In his new responsibility, Magnus will have to deal with the security of the country’s borders, a major challenge considering the weak immigration policies of the Biden administration.
Magnus was critical of the immigration policies of former President Donald Trump. In nominating him last April, the White House highlighted the nominee’s “extensive experience in addressing immigration issues.”
It also emphasized Magnus’ “key role in rebuilding community trust in (law enforcement) institutions and dramatically reducing the number of shootings and homicides” while at the helm of the Tucson Police Department (TPD).
Magnus has not been without controversy. Last June he attempted to resign—though his resignation was rejected—following the April death of Hispanic Carlos Ingram Lopez while being restrained by officers in Tucson.
Magnus’ confirmation vote (50-47) had been stalled in the Senate for weeks after his hearing last October 19.
During that hearing, the Tucson police chief said that, as head of CBP, he would prioritize enforcement of U.S. immigration laws while maintaining the humane treatment of migrants in federal custody.
He also stressed the importance of COVID-19 testing and vaccination of detained migrants.
Magnus will also have to enforce the new implementation of the “Remain in Mexico” program, which requires asylum seekers to wait in the Latin American country while their cases are resolved. CBP agents are in charge of processing these applicants.
CBP, which has more than 60,000 employees and is one of the largest law enforcement organizations in the world, had not had a Senate-confirmed chief since April 2019.