President Biden’s embattled border security czar has resigned Saturday after he was given an ultimatum to either step down or get fired — as a migrant crisis rages at the US border with Mexico.
US Customs and Border Protection head Chris Magnus submitted a resignation letter just one day after he said he was staying put despite a request from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkos on Wednesday that he leave or get sacked.
“It has been a privilege and honor to be part of your administration,” Magnus, 61, wrote in a letter to Biden.
The White House announced the resignation in a statement, thanking Magnus for his service and wishing him well.
“President Biden appreciates Commissioner Magnus’ nearly forty years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three U.S. cities,” Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The resignation comes less than a year after Magnus’ confirmation by the US Senate, as a major shakeup begins at Homeland Security while migrant crossings surge at the US border with Mexico.
A record number of migrant encounters have been logged at the US’s southern border, hitting more than 2 million for the first time in August – a mark that’s twice as high as 2019, the highest level during the Trump administration, the Associated Press reported. There 2.38 million migrants stopped at the border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a 37% increase from the year before, the AP said.
Magnus had told the Los Angeles Times that he wouldn’t step down in a statement on Friday, after the paper was the first to report on the ultimatum. He told the paper, “I am excited about the progress I made and look forward to continuing that work.”
The call for his resignation came after Politico reported that the border security leader missed or slept through meetings about the border crisis, and routinely bashed other agencies to colleagues.
Republicans, who appear poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January, are expected to probe border issues.
With Post wires