Politics

‘Heartless’: That’s What Trump’s Pick To Head ICE Called His Administration

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly did not have laudatory things to say about the administration in January 2017, when he was ousted from his position as Border Patrol chief.

“The fact they are pushing for me to leave immediately is heartless and void of any decency and compassion,” Mark Morgan wrote in January 2017, according to emails obtained by Axios.

Morgan, in an exchange with then-acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, also said his removal as Border Patrol chief by the White House was “wrong on so many levels.”

“I am being removed in the name of politics — and politics at its worst. … I will not have them believe I willingly left under these circumstances,” Morgan wrote at the time.

The unearthed emails, sent Jan. 24 and 25, 2017, were written at a time when the Trump administration decided to push Morgan out of his position as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. The administration gave no official reason for Morgan’s 2017 dismissal, but it was well-known that top brass in the agency did not care for his leadership.

Morgan, a longtime FBI official, was tapped by the Obama White House to lead the Border Patrol in the waning days of its administration. The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing more than 16,000 border agents, criticized his appointment, citing his lack of experience. National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd personally asked Trump to get rid of Morgan, a source familiar with the firing told Axios.

“Serving the men and women at Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a privilege. … I look forward to rejoining the DHS workforce and working hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners and the interagency community to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and end the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” Morgan told Axios in a statement.

While the release of the emails is an embarrassment for Morgan, it also shows how much has changed between the former Border Patrol chief and the Trump administration.

U.S. President Trump participates in briefing at U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station in Calexico, California

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on immigration and border security at the U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station before visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in Calexico, California, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In the two-and-a-half years since getting canned, Morgan has frequently taken to news outlets and voiced support for the president’s immigration agenda, including the construction of a massive wall on the southern border. The appearances culminated in Trump choosing Morgan in early May to be the next ICE director.

“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,” the president tweeted May 5. “Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!” (RELATED: Maxine Waters Calls Trump’s Immigration Plan ‘Very Racist’)

Morgan also touts defenders at the very top of the Department of Homeland Security.

Upon hearing that White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was angling to make Morgan the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — thus leaving the current ICE acting director in place, DHS acting secretary Kevin McAleenan fiercely objected and reportedly threatened to quit. His opposition kept Morgan’s job-to-be in place.

This article will be updated should a comment be received from Morgan.

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