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Border chief quits after Biden admin says: quit or be fired

Chris Magnus appears before a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing. (Rod Lamkey/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 14, 2022

The man in charge of the U.S. border has resigned less than a year into the job after initially resisting the Biden administration’s efforts to push him out.

Chris Magnus resigned as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection on Saturday, according to a White House press release, one day after saying he had no plans to leave his post.

His boss, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, asked him on Wednesday to quit or be fired, the Los Angeles Times reported. Magnus told the outlet on Friday that he had no plans to quit, even though he’d already been locked out of his official Twitter account.

In a statement, Magnus said he “resigned because I believe this decision provides me with the best path for advancing my commitment to professional, innovative and community-engaged policing,” the New York Times reported.

Mayorkas has not explained what was behind the pressure campaign, the New York Times reported. But colleagues said Magnus often didn’t attend meetings, sometimes fell asleep when he did attend, and was too focused on reforming the Border Patrol’s internal culture, POLITICO previously reported.

The Border Patrol’s union bid “good riddance” to Magnus on Twitter, adding, “He was so busy chasing imaginary ‘culture’ problems in BP he forgot his primary job. … BP doesn’t have a culture problem. It has a leadership problem, starting with Biden.”

Magnus aimed to add more female officers on the Border Patrol, and once said that a Trump-era policy allowing border agents to quickly turn migrants away “comes at a heavy cost to many asylum seekers,” the Los Angeles Times reported

Republicans vowed to impeach Mayorkas over the border situation if they won the House in the midterms, the New York Times reported, which remained a possibility as Magnus made his exit. And some of Magnus’ top subordinates indicated they would resign if Magnus did not, according to POLITICO.

Magnus, an openly gay former police chief, was appointed to head CBP in December 2021 amid a record spike in illegal crossings on the southern border that has been one of President Joe Biden’s longest-running challenges.