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Reports: Biden to nominate Arizona police chief to lead US border agency

The position is one of six new leadership positions at the Department of Homeland Security, according to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Chris Magnus, the police chief of Tucson, Arizona, to lead the Customs and Border Protection, according to national reports.

The position is one of six new leadership positions at the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Times said.

Magnus has worked in public safety since 1976, according to the City of Tucson's website. He was appointed to the police chief of the city in 2016 after working as the head of the Richmond, California, police department for 10 years. He also served in Fargo, North Dakota.

“In each of these cities Chief Magnus developed a reputation as a progressive police leader who focused on relationship-building between the police and community, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and insisting on police accountability,” a White House official said in a statement to Reuters.

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Magnus has been a critic of former President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, according to the New York Times. In an opinion piece, written by Magnus in 2017, he criticized then-attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

"The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and Mr. Sessions’s reckless policies ignore a basic reality known by most good cops and prosecutors," he wrote. “If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses.”

Magnus's appointment to the role would need to be approved by the U.S. Senate.

Credit: AP
The border fence that separates the United States and Mexico is seen from Kory's, a clothing store in downtown Nogales, Arizona on March 15, 2021. Small businesses in border towns across the U.S. are reeling from the economic fallout of the partial closure of North America's international boundaries. Residents, small business owners and local chambers of commerce say the financial toll has been steep, as have the disruptions to life in communities where it's common to shop, work and sleep in two different countries. (AP Photo/Suman Naishadham)

Biden has also selected Immigration policy expert Ur Mendoza Jaddou has been nominated to be director of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Jaddou most recently was director of DHS Watch, which was broadly critical of the Trump administration's efforts to curtail both legal and illegal immigration.

The crisis at the border has been an ongoing issue during President Biden's first few months in office. Nearly 19,000 children traveling alone were stopped at the Mexican border in March, smashing previous highs set during periods of heavy child migration in 2014 and 2019. 

Last month, Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the U.S. response.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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