Top Biden immigration official being forced from job amid record border crossings, source says

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The commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being forced out of his job as part of a larger change in top personnel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to a government source.

Chris Magnus is resisting leaving the position, after being told by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign or get fired, according to the source. It comes after a record year of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. along the Mexican border.

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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, D.C., on Oct. 19, 2021.

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, D.C., on Oct. 19, 2021.
(Rod Lamkey/Pool via REUTERS/File Picture)

Magnus has only been on the job for about a year, and sources say he has clashed with DHS officials over border enforcement policy. Some of Magnus’ duties have been taken over by his deputies.

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DHS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New DHS figures show that for the fiscal year ending in September, nearly 2.4 million migrants were detained at the border, a 37% increase from the year before.

President Biden nominated Magnus for the position in 2021, and he was confirmed in December of that year. 

Magnus has faced a number of controversies already, aside from the record border numbers. Fox News reported in October 2021 that Magnus settled a sexual harassment and retaliation case from a former officer in 2017. The case stemmed from his time as Richmond, California, police chief.

Last month, it was reported that Magnus was falling asleep during meetings. 

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“He’s not in the game,” an administration official told Politico of Magnus. “Every time there’s a meeting and he’s in it, we’ll get to a conclusion and Magnus will have some sidebar issue that he wants to raise and we’re all like ‘What the f— is that about?’”

Magnus defended his performance in an October statement to Fox News.

“I care a great deal about CBP and the people who work here. In the 10 months I’ve been CBP’s Commissioner, I’ve gotten up to speed on the agency’s many complex areas of responsibility,” he said. “While CBP is an operational — not a policy-making — agency, I’ve been closely involved in the major DHS immigration, border security, trade, and other policy discussions throughout my time as Commissioner. I frequently share insights from CBP’s frontline law enforcement and civilian personnel in those discussions and will continue to do so.”

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