By Steve Neavling
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, President Biden’s nominee to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection, fielded tough questions about border security and immigration during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
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, The Washington Post reports.
Magnus also told the Senate Finance Committee that border security should be balanced with humane treatment of migrants.
“I think humanity has to be part of the discussion early and often throughout the careers of CBP members,” he said.
“We do our jobs enforcing the law, but how we engage with the public, even the public we may be arresting, is what defines us as professionals, and it’s something we have a moral obligation to do,” Magnus said.
Magnus, 60, doesn’t need Republican support to advance to a full Senate vote as long as all of the Democrats on the committee back him.
Magnus, 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.
If confirmed by the Senate, Magnus has a tough job ahead of him as the nation grapples with a border crisis 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.