In a Sunday morning tweet, President Donald Trump announced that he will appoint Mark Morgan, former head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to serve as the next director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“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 job!”
Morgan served as Border Patrol chief for the last six months of the Obama administration before he was fired in January 2017 by Trump’s first Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Since he was let go, Morgan has made public statements of support for Trump’s hardline immigration policies, from a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to a family separation-esque dramatic action to curb migration.
In April, Morgan appeared on the president’s favorite television network, Fox News, to support his proposal to release migrants, whom he labels as “burdens,” into sanctuary cities.
“I’ve been [to the border],” Morgan told Fox News. “The Border Patrol, ICE, their facilities are overwhelmed, the faith-based organizations and other nongovernmental organizations are overwhelmed. They have no choice. They’re going to have to start pushing these individuals out. Shouldn’t we kind of share the burden throughout the country?”
As ThinkProgress has previously reported, this proposal would target primarily blue states and cities that did not vote Trump into office.
“Here’s phase one of what ‘tougher’ looks like, in my opinion,” Morgan told The Los Angeles Times in an interview last month. According to Morgan, administration officials must “stop expecting that Congress is going to do their job. DHS is going to have to address this issue all alone.”
Like Trump, Morgan believes that the country’s asylum laws are to blame for the immigration “crisis,” saying, “the incentive is: grab kid, step one foot onto U.S. soil, and you’re allowed in, never to be heard from again.”
“In the immediate, we have to do something — even if we lose in the courts, we still gotta do something to stop the incentive,” Morgan told the paper.
This view of asylum seekers is grossly misinformed. Contrary to Morgan’s and Trump’s belief that asylum seekers are “never to be heard from again” once they enter the United States, 96% of asylum seeking families show up to their court proceedings, according to the American Immigration Council.
While Morgan has yet to be formally nominated, many members of the Trump administration were blindsided by his sudden announcement on Twitter, according to reports.
If confirmed, Morgan would be the first official replacement at the DHS since White House senior adviser Stephen Miller reportedly encouraged Trump to purge top officials from the agency. During this purge, Trump pulled the nomination of Ron Vitiello as ICE director because he wanted to move DHS in “a tougher direction.” Since then, former ICE deputy director Matthew Albence, who once likened the detention of immigrant children to “summer camp,” has served as acting director of ICE.