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Trump’s border chief is resigning unexpectedly

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner John P. Sanders places his hand over his heart as the National Anthem is sang during the annual Valor Memorial & Wreath Laying Ceremony held in Woodrow Wilson Plaza outside the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., May 16, 2019. (Glenn Fawcett/Customs and Border Protection)
June 25, 2019

Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner John Sanders has announced his resignation.

Sanders will leave his post on July 5, but did not offer a reason for his exit, according to a letter he sent to agency employees, obtained on Tuesday by CNN.

“Although I will leave it to you to determine whether I was successful, I can unequivocally say that helping support the amazing men and women of CBP has been the most fulfilling and satisfying opportunity of my career,” Sander wrote

Sanders served in the acting capacity since former CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan moved to acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security following Kirstjen Nielsen’s departure.

“I’ve spent a significant amount of time over the last several days reflecting on my time at CBP. When I began this journey, Commissioner McAleenan charged me with aligning the mission support organizations and accelerating his priorities. Easy enough, I thought,” Sanders wrote in the letter.

“What I didn’t appreciate at the time was how the journey would transform me professionally and personally. This transformation was due in large part to the fact that people embraced and welcomed me in a way that was new to me — in a way that was truly special,” Sanders continued.

“To this day, I get choked up when speaking about it and I can’t adequately express my thanks. As a result, let me simply say I will never stop defending the people and the mission for which 427 people gave their lives in the line of duty in defending. Hold your heads high with the honor and distinction that you so richly deserve,” he added.

Sanders further encouraged CBP employees to reflect on accomplishments, and “continue to make CBP extraordinary.”

Sanders’ resignation comes amid criticisms against the CBP for alleged poor conditions in migrant detention centers stemming from overcrowding and understaffing.