USBP Chief Mark A. Morgan testifies before the House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee on Sept. 13, 2016. (Donna Burton/CBP)

Mark Morgan Named New Acting CBP Commissioner; Albence Again Takes ICE Reins

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Mark Morgan will step into the acting commissioner role at Customs and Border Protection following the resignation of Acting Commissioner John Sanders.

Sanders, who had served in the role since April, told CBP employees in an email this week that he offered his resignation Monday and plans to step down on July 5.

Sanders encouraged CBP staff to “reflect on all that you have accomplished as a team” and “build upon your accomplishments and embrace new opportunities, remain flexible, and continue to make CBP extraordinary.”

“This is your organization… own it!” he added. “Don’t underestimate the power of momentum as you continue to tackle some of this country’s most difficult challenges.”

Sanders did not give a reason for his resignation but said he would “leave it to you to determine whether I was successful.”

Morgan served as chief of the Border Patrol from 2016-2017. He was plucked from the FBI for the job; he had been assistant director in charge of the Bureau’s Training Division at Quantico.

In 2014, Morgan worked briefly as assistant commissioner in Internal Affairs at Customs and Border Protection, the only interruption in his two-decade FBI career that began as a special agent in Los Angeles. He served in the L.A. Police Department for a year before transitioning to the FBI, and is a Marine Corps veteran. Morgan holds a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Morgan left the Border Patrol days after Trump’s inauguration, worked as a consultant and subsequently appeared frequently on Fox News defending CBP. He became acting ICE director in May.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement today that Morgan will be chief operating officer and senior official performing the duties of the commissioner at CBP.

McAleenan said that at ICE Morgan “quickly worked to advance the ICE mission of safeguarding the homeland through criminal and civil enforcement.”

“I am confident he will bring the same commitment to [CBP] as it continues to navigate the current humanitarian and operational crisis,” he added.

The new Acting Director of ICE is Matthew T. Albence, who has been performing the duties of the agency’s deputy director since August 2018 and was briefly acting director after President Trump withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitiello on the grounds that he wanted “to go in a tougher direction” than the veteran CBP official and acting ICE director.

In 2017, Albence served as the agency’s executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations and was also the assistant director for the ERO Enforcement Division.

“A 25-year law enforcement professional, Mr. Albence will lead the way for ICE as the nation’s vital immigration enforcement branch,” McAleenan said.

Acting CBP Commissioner Sanders Stepping Down After Two Months on Job

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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