PLAYER PROFILE

Mark Morgan

Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection | Former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

When Barack Obama nominated Mark Morgan to be the chief of Border Patrol in 2016, it was an unconventional choice. Until that point, Morgan had not ever worked for Border Patrol — or any border-focused law enforcement agency. Instead, he came from a long career at the FBI, which did include leading the Gang Task Force focused on U.S. gangs with ties to Central America, and serving as Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s El Paso division.

The nomination was opposed by the Border Patrol union, and Morgan’s decision to wear a Border Patrol uniform was criticized by some of the rank and file.

Days after the 2016 election, Morgan sent out an internal email to CBP personnel, criticizing immigration enforcement policies of the Obama administration. Many viewed the move as an attempt to gain favor with the incoming Trump administration, but it didn’t work — at least not in the short term: Morgan was forced to resign from the position just days after Trump’s inauguration.

In the ensuing months, Morgan made numerous television appearances — including many on Fox News — to express support for President Trump’s immigration policies. Still, it surprised many in Trump’s administration when, just five months after removing him from his post at CBP, the president announced on Twitter that he was nominating Morgan to head ICE According to reports at the time, Trump was looking for someone “tougher” to head the agency and he determined that Morgan fit the bill.

But that position, too, was short lived, as two months later, in June of 2019, Trump announced he was shifting Morgan from his position at ICE to become the new Acting Commissioner of CBP. While Morgan’s career path has been anything but conventional, his collective experience at the FBI, ICE, and CBP gives him an expansive perspective when it comes to enforcement-related issues in the immigration debate.

SOURCES:

Morgan’S IDEAS

  • Border Security

    Morgan has long been a vocal proponent of stronger border security and has expressed strong support for adding more Border Patrol agents than the approximately 20,000 already in service. He also supports increasing the technological capacity for screenings at ports of entry.

  • Border Wall

    Morgan has consistently expressed support for the construction of Trump’s border wall, saying it would be an effective way to reduce illegal border crossings. Further, he supports the president’s use of the national emergency declaration to gain access to more construction funding.

  • Detention

    Morgan supports making changes to the Flores Agreement that would allow minors with families to be detained beyond 20 days. He supports the end of “catch-and-release” and believes in detention as a substantial deterrent of unauthorized border crossing.

  • Immigration Courts

    In a late 2019 White House briefing, Morgan said, “We still need Congress to pass meaningful legislation to address our broken legal framework when it comes to immigration.”

  • Undocumented Population

    In a December 2016 Senate hearing, Morgan expressed support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, but after receiving criticism from Border Patrol union representatives and other immigration hardliners he walked back the statement by noting that his vision for comprehensive immigration overhaul would not include “blanket amnesty.”

  • ICE

    Morgan, who used to lead the agency, has said that he considers “the men and women of ICE heroes, unequivocally. They are enforcing the laws enacted by Congress.” He supports any legislative moves that would increase the capacity of ICE agents to carry out EROs in all communities.

  • DACA

    No statement found.

  • Asylum

    Morgan supports the president’s changes to the asylum process, including the prohibition of asylum claims by migrants who after leaving home have resided or “transited en route” in a third country. The rule keeps Central Americans from applying for asylum after entering the U.S. and forces them to do so either from Mexico or from their home countries. Morgan has stated that he believes “hundreds of thousands of families and children were told, coached, and made to believe if you make it to the United States border with a child, it was your passport into the interior United States.” He also supports training Border Patrol agents to conduct “credible fear” interviews — the first step in the asylum process.

  • Central America Policy

    Morgan champions cooperation with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in order to address the regional crisis of violence. He believes the U.S. should work directly with these governments to target gangs, human smuggling organizations, and the movement of illicit drugs. Morgan believes the U.S. should be working with these countries on “a daily basis.”

  • Visas

    No statement found.