WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being forced out of his job leading the nation’s largest law enforcement agency as the number of illegal crossings rose to the highest level ever recorded in a fiscal year, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Chris Magnus, who has been on the Senate-confirmed job less than a year, was told to resign or be fired, according to two people who had been briefed on the matter but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. It is part of a larger shakeup expected at Homeland Security as border officials struggle to manage a wave of migrants and increasingly those coming from countries like Venezuela.
In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, migrants were stopped 2.38 million times, up 37% from the year before, according to newly released figures. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time in August and is more than twice the highest level during Donald Trump’s presidency, in 2019.
Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, confirmed that Magnus was being pushed out.
The Los Angeles Times was first to report on the ultimatum. In a statement to the newspaper, Magnus said he was asked by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to step down or be fired. He said he wouldn’t step down and defended his record.
Neither Customs and Border Protection nor the Homeland Security Department responded to requests for comment.
Spagat reported from San Diego.
Mike Balsamo, Colleen Long And Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press