Magnus confirmed to lead US border agency; replacement chosen for Tucson police chief
PHOENIX — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus as the new head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
President Joe Biden in May nominated Magnus for the position, who has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016.
Chad Kasmar will replace Magnus and become Tucson’s new police chief after being appointed to the role by Mayor Regina Romero and the city council.
Magnus takes over for Troy Miller who has been serving as a senior official performing the duties of the commissioner of the border agency since being appointed to the role on an interim basis in January.
Both of Arizona’s U.S. senators expressed their support for Magnus after the confirmation, which was passed by a vote of 50-47.
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who serves as Chair of the Senate Government Operations and Border Management Subcommittee, said the confirmation underscores the Senate’s “trust in his exceptional qualifications and history of service.”
“This confirmation represents a step toward improving how the federal government manages and secures the border,” Sinema said.
“I look forward to working with Commissioner Magnus to secure the border, protect our communities, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely.”
Kelly, meanwhile, said Magnus gives Arizona much-needed leadership at Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, while challenges at the border continue as demonstrated by the increase in migrants at the Yuma Sector over the past two days.
“Chris Magnus brings experience and understanding of Southern Arizona that will be important for his new role leading CBP as we continue working to secure the border, upgrade our ports of entry, and ensure a more orderly and humane process at the border that doesn’t fall on Arizona communities,” Kelly said.
Magnus was an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and in 2015 testified before then-President Barack Obama’s task force on 21st century policing on best practice models for community policing.
He led the 800-member police force in Tucson, which calls itself an “immigrant welcoming community” and has changed police policy to minimize the ability for officers to enforce immigration laws.
The confirmation comes on the same day Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey visited Yuma and was critical of the Biden administration’s response to the border, saying the administration “does not care” about border safety and is not doing enough to limit the flow of migrants into the state from the southern border.
Customs and Border Protection has more than 60,000 employees and is responsible for securing the border and enforcing immigration laws.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.