There are those who are saying that President Biden’s pick for the new head of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is not only wrong but could be downright dangerous!
Chris Magnus, a police chief in Tucson, Arizona, was nominated by Biden in April to lead the agency that oversees the Border Patrol and is the agency at the frontlines of protecting America’s borders. His confirmation hearing is set to begin soon and is drawing particular scrutiny due to the ferocious and ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Magnus will face scrutiny from senators at his confirmation hearing, and immigration hawks are raising concerns about what they call his “downright dangerous” record opposing police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
The White House has described Magnus as having “extensive experience in addressing immigration issues” because of Tucson’s close proximity to the border.
“I am excited that President Biden has nominated an extraordinary group of individuals for critical leadership positions in the Department of Homeland Security,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said as Magnus and a host of other nominations were announced earlier this year. “They are highly regarded and accomplished professionals with deep experience in their respective fields. Together they will help advance the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to ensure the safety and security of the American people. I look forward to working with the Senate in support of their swift confirmation.”
However, that experience has also raised opposition from immigration hawks, who are pointing to Magnus’ support of policies that demand non-compliance with interior immigration enforcement, as well as his opposition to stricter border policies by the Trump administration. While CBP is not directly involved in interior enforcement, hawks are concerned that his nomination is another move to what they describe as “open border” policies.
The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), obtained documents from Magnus’ time serving as police chief in Richmond, California, that show him working to implement the city’s “sanctuary city” policies as it related to the Richmond Police Department.
“Sanctuary City” policies forbid most cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. It means that most detainers — ICE requests that local police departments hold and transfer an illegal immigrant into its custody so they can be removed from the country — are ignored. Proponents argue that such policies encourage illegal immigrants to work with police and report crimes, but critics note that such policies allow the release of criminal illegal aliens back onto the streets.
In a 2012 email, Magnus sent around one set of guidelines: “This revision brings us into compliance with Richmond’s ‘Sanctuary City’ policy and further clarifies our Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) non-cooperation policy,” he said.
While Magnus was not the author of the policy and was bringing his department in line with existing city policy, other emails show him in 2015 sharing an article warning against changing sanctuary city laws in the wake of the death of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant — calling the article “relevant” and making “strong points.”
Also, in 2017, Magnus’ police department opposed directives from then-Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly to prioritize enforcement operations for criminal illegal immigrants, which would have enabled local police to help deport those illegals they encountered.
Magnus’ positions would not set him apart from his potential colleagues in the Biden DHS, which has rolled back interior enforcement and has issued guidance saying that a person’s illegal status should not alone be the factor that gets them deported. But IRLI and FAIR say that while Magnus may be a fit, lawmakers should not approve his nomination.
“Secretary Mayorkas may have been right when he referred to Chris Magnus as a ‘highly-regarded and accomplished professional with deep experience,’” RJ Hauman, head of government relations for FAIR, said, “Not only is he highly-regarded by open borders activists and illegal aliens, he has a lengthy track record opposing immigration enforcement.”
“While that may be a perfect resume in the eyes of the White House, it is disqualifying and downright dangerous,” he said before referencing the failed nomination for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “Senators in both parties must put their money where their mouth is on addressing the border crisis and ensure that the Magnus nomination meets the same fate as David Chipman’s.”