U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan testifies before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs on Nov. 30, 2016. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett)

Trump Picks Obama-Era Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan to Lead ICE

President Trump picked an Obama-era Border Patrol chief to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he tweeted today.

“I am pleased to inform all of those that believe in a strong, fair and sound Immigration Policy that Mark Morgan will be joining the Trump Administration as the head of our hard working men and women of ICE. Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!” Trump tweeted.

Matthew Albence has been serving as acting director for less than a month, after 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.

Morgan, who would require Senate confirmation, has appeared frequently on Fox News in recent weeks, saying March that families detained at the border were not being held in cages. “They’re actually really nice facilities, and there are chain-link fences within the facilities, but it’s designed so the Border Patrol agents working there can provide safety and security for the people that are there,” he said.

The White House has not yet officially submitted Morgan’s nomination.

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. The FBI director at the time, James Comey, praised Morgan for “outstanding investigative work and leadership” that “have been an incredible asset to the FBI, and he will be missed.” Comey predicted Morgan would “bring the same passion for justice and public service that he demonstrated over more than 20 years of service in the FBI to his new role as Chief of the Border Patrol.”

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. “I want to thank Mark Morgan for his unwavering dedication to our border security mission, and recognize his lifelong career in service to the nation,” then-Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said at the time.

Since 2018, Morgan has billed himself as an independent consultant on complex investigations, risk management, threat assessment and mitigation, and the like.

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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