Biden Border Pick’s Nomination in Motion as Democrat Drops Hold

The Biden administration’s nominee to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection will finally get a hearing after a top Senate Democrat resolved a dispute over information related to the Department of Homeland Security’s role in last year’s protests in Portland, Ore.

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced Wednesday that he would schedule a hearing on Chris Magnus to lead CBP. His move came after DHS announced the creation of a new council to oversee its law enforcement agencies.

If confirmed, Magnus would take charge of security and processing at U.S. borders and ports of entry as the Biden administration manages criticism from the left and right about border policies. CBP was without a Senate-confirmed leader as the Border Patrol, one of its components, was under fire for agents’ treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.

Democrat Delays Biden Border Pick on Portland Protest Concerns

Wyden has called Magnus, who is currently the police chief in Tucson, Ariz., a “thoughtful, responsible leader.” Yet the senator held up his confirmation hearing for months while seeking information from DHS and the Justice Department on the deployment of Border Patrol and other federal law enforcement officers to Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Portland.

“I am gratified that CBP confirmed in written responses to my questions that it has not deployed any law enforcement personnel to Portland since January 2021 and that DHS is both committed to reviewing its training and engaging with communities of color to hear their concerns,” Wyden said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at egilmer@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage at sbabbage@bgov.com

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