U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae Johnson will be retiring from the agency after more than 31 years of service.
Johnson has been serving as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director since Jan. 13, 2021, and has been deputy director of the agency since 2020.
Last July, the White House withdrew the nomination of Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to be the first Senate-confirmed leader of ICE since the Obama administration. Sarah Saldaña, the last confirmed director, left on Jan. 20, 2017.
Johnson previously served as Deputy Executive Associate Director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations.
He began his federal career in Salisbury, Maryland, in 1992 with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as a co-op student trainee. Johnson transferred to ICE headquarters in 2007 where he served as detention and deportation officer, Unit Chief, Chief of Staff, and Special Assistant among other positions prior to becoming the Assistant Director for ERO’s Custody Management Division.
“I am grateful to Tae Johnson for his service to ICE, the Department, and the nation. Mr. Johnson has been an integral member of ICE’s leadership team through multiple administrations,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement today. “He has been instrumental in advancing many of DHS’s critical missions, including the enforcement of our country’s immigration laws and our work to dismantle terrorist and criminal organizations. He helped transform the organizational culture of ICE by focusing its resources on public safety and national security.”
“As ICE’s leader since 2021, he has overseen some of the nation’s most critical investigations, including Operation Stolen Promise to combat the new threats related to counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and Operation Blue Lotus to curtail the flow of fentanyl smuggled into the United States from Mexico. Most recently, Mr. Johnson led ICE’s successful planning and execution during the transition from the Title 42 public health Order to the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” Mayorkas continued.
“I have personally benefitted from his frank assessments, solid judgment, and his deep expertise drawn from decades of experience,” he added. “I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Tae for more than 31 years of dedicated service. The Department is grateful for his service and sacrifice, and that of his family who has served alongside him.”