© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chris Magnus appears before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., October 19, 2021. Ro
By Ted Hesson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. border official said on Friday he had been asked to resign or be fired, a sign of tensions within U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration over a record number of migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post that he had been asked to step down by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a Biden Cabinet member who oversees CBP, or be removed from the role. Magnus said he would not resign and defended his commitment to the agency, according to the reports.
The White House, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and CBP did not respond to requests for comment.
The number of migrant arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border has soared to record highs under Biden, a Democrat who took office in 2021, fueling attacks by Republicans who say his policies are too lenient. Biden officials have said they aim to create a more orderly and humane immigration system, but have struggled to handle the operational and political challenges that have accompanied the high level of crossings.
Magnus, 62, was confirmed in December as commissioner of the CBP, a 60,000-person agency that oversees border security, trade and travel. Magnus worked for police departments in Michigan, North Dakota and California before becoming the police chief in Tucson, Arizona, in 2016.