President Biden appoints a former Obama administration lawyer and progressive police chief to head agencies tasked with the country’s legal immigration bureaucracy and border policy in a new round of appointments to the Department of Homeland Security, White House officials confirmed to CBS News on Monday.
Almost three months after starting his administration, the president appointed six allies to help lead a department grappling with two disparate problems: the increase in the number of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border and the consequences of two large-scale cyber attacks – the Russian cyberespionage campaign “SolarWinds” and a Chinese hack into Microsoft Exchange servers.
The president chose Chris Mangus, chief of police for Tucson, Arizona, and open critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies to lead U.S. customs and border protection and a former chief lawyer for citizenship and d United States Immigration (USCIS) Ur Jaddou to head the agency.
Former senior director of the National Security Council for Afghanistan and Pakistan, John Tien, will serve as deputy secretary of DHS, and Jonathan Meyer, another former Obama administration official, is expected to return to the department as as general legal adviser.
“I am delighted that President Biden has appointed an extraordinary group of individuals to critical leadership positions within the Department of Homeland Security,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “They are renowned and accomplished professionals with extensive experience in their respective fields.”
Jaddou, a member of Mr. Biden’s transition team who most recently worked for liberal immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, served as USCIS senior counsel during President Obama’s second term. Previously, she worked in the State Department’s Legislative Affairs Office and in Congress as the Legal Officer of the House Immigration Subcommittee.
If confirmed as the director of USCIS, Jaddou would be tasked with overseeing the country’s legal immigration system and processing hundreds of thousands of applications for US citizenship, green cards, asylum, permits. work and other immigration benefits.
Jaddou will likely play a key role in the Biden administration’s efforts to overturn many Trump-era regulations, memos, and guidelines that restricted various avenues of legal immigration, including asylum limits and green cards. She will also be responsible for implementing the Obama-era Deferred Action Policy for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a deportation relief program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States in as minors who face a legal challenge in federal court.
Prior to becoming Tuscon Police Chief, Magnus ran police departments in Fargo, North Dakota, and Richmond, California. Although he appears to lack experience in implementing immigration or border policy, Magnus has expressed his views on these issues, accusing the Trump administration of fueling mistrust and fear among immigrant communities through its “anti-immigrant” rhetoric.
In 2017, Magnus criticized the Trump administration for threatening to withhold federal funds from local courts that limited their cooperation with federal deportation officers. He argued in a New York Times opinion piece that intransigent immigration policies and rhetoric make communities less safe because fearful immigrants stop reporting crimes.
“The Trump administration seems to think it knows more about fighting crime than local police chiefs and sheriffs, and it is punishing cities that keep their agents focused on the needs of the community rather than the federal immigration law enforcement, ”Magnus wrote.
While he would oversee an agency tasked with facilitating travel, maritime security and combating drug trafficking, Magnus, if confirmed, will likely be primarily concerned with the US-Mexico border, where a sharp rise in apprehensions migrants, including families and unaccompanied children, created formidable humanitarian, logistical and political challenges for the Biden administration.
In March, apprehensions at the border topped 170,000, a two-decade high, as the number of unaccompanied children in custody eclipsed the previous all-time monthly record. For weeks, thousands of unaccompanied children are stranded in overcrowded CBP tents and stations not designed to accommodate migrants, let alone minors, for more than 72 hours.
Monday’s appointments also include top cyber jobs, as the Biden administration focuses on the growing threat to national security. Mr Biden will appoint Chris Inglis, the former deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to fill the newly created cyber tsar post as national director of cyberspace at the White House.
Jen Easterly, a former senior National Security Agency official and most recently Morgan Stanley Resilience Officer has been chosen to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Biden will also appoint Robert Silvers, a former Obama administration cybersecurity official, as Under Secretary for Policy.
If confirmed, Chris and Jen will add deep expertise, experience and leadership to our world-class cyber team, which includes the first-ever Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber Security and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger, as well as solid and proven professionals in a crisis. from the FBI to the ODNI via the Department of Homeland Security, the US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, “noted the national security adviser Jake Sullivan in a statement.
Former CISA director Chris Krebs, who described Easterly, Silvers and Inglis as “brilliant picks” on Twitter, also welcomed the news of the administration’s selections for cyber leadership.
“My God. It’s a team,” Krebs wrote. on Twitter.
Former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, who led cybersecurity efforts under the Trump administration, also called “exceptional” appointments.
Private sector cybersecurity experts have also welcomed the new choices.
In a joint statement, bipartisan and bicameral leaders of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission – an advisory group convened in 2019 to better prepare the country for cyber conflict – also welcomed the nominations.
“We are pleased that President Biden has appointed our fellow Solarium Commissioner Chris Inglis to be the country’s first National Director of Cyberspace,” the leaders, which include Senator Angus King of Maine, Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island said. “As our adversaries’ attempts to probe our networks become more daring, the need for a leader with statutory authority to coordinate the development and implementation of a national cyber strategy to defend everything and secure everything , from our hospitals to our electricity grid, could not be clearer. “
In its founding report last year, the commission, in which Inglis and Easterly participated, recommended the creation of a national cyber director confirmed by the Senate and greater authorities for the CISA.
The new stable of cyber managers will assume their roles alongside Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger, who led the administration’s response to intrusions from SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange.
Neuberger said in an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations last week that the administration’s long-awaited executive order would be released “in the coming weeks.”
Notably absent from Monday’s DHS list of appointments is a director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency responsible for deporting undocumented immigrants and investigating criminal drug trafficking organizations. and sex. For more than four years, the department has been headed by a group of temporary leaders not confirmed by the US Senate.
The Biden administration has yet to nominate a candidate for the post of undersecretary of its intelligence service. The Homeland Security Intelligence and Analysis Department has been riddled with politicization and has reportedly compiled “intelligence reports” on the work of US journalists covering the protests in Portland, Oregon last summer. The agency also failed to release an intelligence report ahead of the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Ahead of the confirmation hearings, a Congressional aide to the President of the Senate on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Gary Peters told CBS News that fulfilling these roles at the Department of Homeland Security “continues to be a priority.” to go forward. “President Peters looks forward to quickly reviewing the qualifications of these candidates and advancing them through the confirmation process so that we can have qualified and Senate confirmed leaders in place as soon as possible.