Biden chooses 2 critics of Trump-era immigration policies for key homeland security roles


President Joe Biden on Monday appointed two critics of Trump-era immigration policies to key positions in the Department of Homeland Security.

The appointments come as the Biden administration faces a growing number of people attempting to enter the country along the southwest border.

Biden named Tucson, Arizona Police Chief, Chris Magnus, Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Immigration policy expert Ur Mendoza Jaddou has been appointed director of citizenship and immigration services.

Magnus has publicly challenged the Trump administration’s efforts to punish cities that refuse to cooperate with stricter immigration enforcement policies, arguing it harms relations between law enforcement and migrant communities .

Magnus heads the 800-member police force in Tucson, which calls itself an “immigrant receiving community” and has changed police policy to downplay officers’ ability to enforce immigration laws. He was a counterweight to the harsh voices of the Border Patrol Union and the Arizona Legislature.

“He’s a strong leader, he’s calm, and that’s what CBP needs,” said Gil Kerlikowske, who headed the agency for three years under President Barack Obama. “That’s 60,000 professionals and the last thing they need are people who are more interested in using their Twitter accounts or going to Fox News.”

Magnus offered to step down last year when a young Hispanic man, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, died in police custody and the department failed to notify the public for months. The officers involved resigned and Magnus said he would have fired them. Mayor Regina Romero publicly supported Magnus.

“During his time in Tucson and throughout his career, Chief Magnus developed a national reputation for his sensible and inclusive approach to policing that has always been focused on community building,” said Romero, a Democrat , in a press release.

Magnus was previously the police chief in Richmond, California and Fargo, North Dakota. Magnus, who is white and gay, held up a Black Lives Matter sign during a protest in Richmond, photos of which went viral in 2014.

Jaddou was most recently director of DHS Watch, which widely criticized the Trump administration’s efforts to curb both legal and illegal immigration.

CBP responsibilities including border patrol while USCIS manages legal immigration services. Both positions require Senate confirmation and have been led by interim leaders under former President Donald Trump, repeatedly drawing criticism from Congress.

The number of migrants apprehended by the border patrol along the southwest border has been increasing for months. The Biden administration continued to deport adults under a public health order issued under Trump at the start of the pandemic.

But the administration allowed unaccompanied children and some families to stay. Last month, the US government recovered nearly 19,000 children traveling alone across the Mexican border in March, the highest monthly number on record.


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