President Donald Trump has picked Mark Morgan, a former director of the U.S. Border Patrol under the Obama administration, to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Trump made the announcement on Sunday via Twitter,
apparently to the surprise of ICE leaders who had
no advance knowledge of the decision, according to The Washington Post.
“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,” Trump
wrote. “Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great
A senior administration official told the Post: “ICE leadership had no advance notice of Morgan’s selection
before the tweet.”
Morgan, a former FBI official, briefly headed the Border
Patrol until he was fired after the Trump administration took office. In
January, he publicly spoke out in favor of Trump’s demands for a costly border
“I’m here today breaking my silence to tell the American
people that the president is correct in what he’s doing,” Morgan told
Law & Crime at the time. “The wall works.”
Law & Crime pointed out that in 2016, Morgan had told
the Senate that the southern U.S. border needed more “fencing,” but he didn’t
mention anything about a wall. Referring to the fencing, Morgan said, “Do we
need it everywhere? No. Is it the sole answer? No.”
Law & Crime asked Morgan if the White House had prompted
him to publicly voice his support for a wall. Morgan said no, adding, “I’m a
When speaking about Trump’s decision to shut down the federal
government in a failed attempt to obtain wall funding from Congress, Morgan
said, “I can stand up and say they are right because it’s the right thing to do
for this country. I’m begging the president to stay the course,” according
to the Post.
Morgan must now be confirmed by the Senate. His nomination replaces that of former acting director Ron Vitiello, whom Trump initially had nominated to head ICE.
However, Trump withdrew Vitiello’s nomination last month after White House
Miller and ICE union leader Chris
Crane complained, the Post said.
at the time that he wanted someone “tougher” than Vitiello to head ICE. “We
want to go in a tougher direction,” he said.
Vitiello was reportedly “blindsided”
by Trump’s decision.