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REPORT: Biden to nominate Chief Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection

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TUCSON (KVOA) - President Joe Biden will nominate Tucson Police Department Chief Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection, according to The New York Times.

According to the report, the chief's nomination is one of six announced for roles in the Department of Homeland Security.

Magnus has criticized the immigration policies of former President Donald J. Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. In 2017, he wrote an Opinion piece for The New York Times, called: Tucson's Police Chief: Sessions's Anti-Immigrant Policies Will Make Cities More Dangerous.

In 2016, Magnus was appointed to be the police chief for Tucson's police department. Previously, he served as police chief in the cities of Fargo, North Dakota and Richmond, California.

"During his time in Richmond, Magnus played a key role in rebuilding community trust in law enforcement and dramatically reducing the number of shootings and homicides," The White House said in a news release Monday. "In Tucson, Magnus implemented de-escalation training, sentinel event review processes, and programs to promote officer health and wellness.  Because of Tucson’s proximity to the border, he has extensive experience in addressing immigration issues."

Shortly after the release, Tucson Police Department released the following statement from their chief in response to his nomination.

“I am, of course, very honored to be nominated by the President to lead Customs and Border Protection. I look forward to speaking with senators and hearing their thoughts and concerns.

As I’ve told our department members, serving as Tucson’s Chief of Police has been, and continues to be, one of the best experiences of my career in policing. Tucson is a special community and TPD is a professional, community engaged police department.

The confirmation process is never a certainty. As the Senate moves forward with its deliberations, I remain committed to serving as your Chief of Police to the best of my ability.”

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus

On Monday, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued the following statement:

“I want to congratulate Chief Magnus for his nomination to serve as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” said Mayor Regina Romero. “During his time in Tucson and throughout his career, Chief Magnus has developed a national reputation for his sensible, inclusive approach to policing that has always centered around community building."

"Chief Magnus has always understood the importance of distinguishing the role of local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement and how critical this is to protecting community trust. He has gained valuable experience serving as Police Chief of a major city here in the Borderlands.

"As an established immigrant-welcoming community and in response to SB-1070, Mayor & Council directed a series of amendments to TPD's General Orders that protect victims and witnesses of crimes from arbitrary immigration status inquires, prohibit stops and detentions based on "suspicions" of unlawful status, and other actions aimed at protecting the rights of our immigrant communities. I am grateful for the Chief's leadership in implementing these reforms, as well as other efforts including streamlining TPD's U-visa process and the creation of a new refugee liaison program.

"I wish the Chief the best of luck during his confirmation process and look forward to continue working with him for the time that he is in Tucson."

Shortly after this announcement, Arizona senators Mark Kelly and Kristen Sinema released statement of their own in regards to Magnus' new role.

“I’ve known Chief Magnus for a number of years, and as the son of two police officers myself, I have respected his approach to public service and law enforcement.

“With about 370 miles of U.S.-Mexico border and numerous ports of entry, Arizona requires strong, capable leadership at Customs and Border Protection to secure the border and ensure trade and commerce that is critical for our economy. As Tucson’s Police Chief, Chief Magnus understands what it looks like when the federal government fails Arizona on border security and immigration, and that is the experience and perspective he can bring to this position. 

“We’re facing a humanitarian crisis at our border that is already straining Border Patrol in Arizona, and I look forward to speaking with Chief Magnus about his plans for Customs and Border Protection and providing a secure, orderly process at the border that prioritizes safety and public health.”Arizona Senator Mark Kelly “I’ve known Chief Magnus for a number of years, and as the son of two police officers myself, I have respected his approach to public service and law enforcement.

“With about 370 miles of U.S.-Mexico border and numerous ports of entry, Arizona requires strong, capable leadership at Customs and Border Protection to secure the border and ensure trade and commerce that is critical for our economy. As Tucson’s Police Chief, Chief Magnus understands what it looks like when the federal government fails Arizona on border security and immigration, and that is the experience and perspective he can bring to this position. 

“We’re facing a humanitarian crisis at our border that is already straining Border Patrol in Arizona, and I look forward to speaking with Chief Magnus about his plans for Customs and Border Protection and providing a secure, orderly process at the border that prioritizes safety and public health.”

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly 

“Chief Chris Magnus's nomination to lead Customs and Border Protection represents a positive step toward ensuring the administration understands and addresses the needs of Arizona communities. Our state pays the price for the federal government's failure to fix a broken immigration system. I'll continue working to ensure the administration takes meaningful steps to support our border communities, secure the border, and treat all migrants and unaccompanied children fairly and humanely - and I look forward to talking with Chief Magnus soon about his nomination.”

Arizona Senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema 
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