By Steve Neavling
A Senate committee on Wednesday narrowly advanced President Biden’s nomination of Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 15-13, pushing the nomination to a vote before the full Senate. The only Republican to vote in favor of Magnus was Sen. Bill Casey, of Louisiana.
Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., cited Magnus’ experience as a police chief and his compassionate but tough stance on immigration.
“He shares the view that enforcing our immigration laws and treating people humanely — those two priorities are not mutually exclusive. We can do both,” Wyden said, Arizona Public Radio reports.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, wasn’t on board, pointing to Magnus’ testimony during a conformation hearing last month.
“The nominee was asked by members of this committee multiple times to acknowledge we face a crisis. He declined to do so,” Crapo said.
During the confirmation hearing, Magnus sought to assuage some Republicans by signaling support for two of former President Trump’s most controversial policies. He said he would consider finishing some of the border wall that the Biden administration has stopped and indicated he supported the Trump-era public health order that authorizes the rapid removal of migrants and asylum-seekers without an immigration hearing.
Magnus, 60, who has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016, was a vocal critic of some of Trump’s immigration policies and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement before his nomination.
If confirmed by the Senate, Magnus has a tough job ahead of him as the nation grapples with a border problem and the separation of migrant children from their families.
Magnus also would be the first openly gay CBP commissioner.
Biden’s ATF nominee David Chipman floundered in the Senate after every Republican and Angus King, an independent from Maine, refused to support him.