On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus as Customs and Border Protection Commissioner. The 50-47 vote largely fell along party lines, although Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted with Democrats.
Magnus, a critic of Trump’s hardline immigration stance, was tapped by President Biden to lead CBP in April. Magnus will be charged with leading an organization of 60,000 personnel, including about 20,000 Border Patrol agents, that has not had a senate-confirmed commissioner since 2019. He will also be the first openly gay CBP commissioner.
During his confirmation hearing, Magnus said that immigration was a personal matter for him as his father and husband immigrated to the United States from Norway and Hong Kong respectively. “I pride myself on being a pragmatic and bipartisan problem-solver,” said Magnus in his opening testimony. “I care about innovative ideas, not ideology.”
The confirmation process was not without controversy and hiccups. The confirmation was delayed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), who refused to hold a hearing until the Department of Homeland Security answered specific questions about the Trump administration’s use of federal agents in Portland. During the hearing, Republicans were displeased when Magnus would not call the situation on the border a “crisis.” Magnus has also attracted criticism from the left for supporting some Trump-era border policies.
Magnus’ confirmation comes at a time when Biden’s immigration and border policies have come under intense scrutiny from both parties. With CBP arrests along the southern border at a two-decade high, Republicans are accusing the Biden administration for being too lenient while many Democrats argue that the administration has not gone far enough in rolling back Trump-era policies.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images