The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, John Sanders, has announced that he will be stepping down early next month amid public outrage over his agency’s alleged mistreatment of detained migrant children at the border.
In a message to CBP employees, Sanders said that he would resign on July 5.
Praising his colleagues’ “determination and can-do attitude” Sanders made no mention of the public furor over appalling conditions at what some have controversially described as “concentration camps” at the border, but instead chose to celebrate the agency’s ability to “accomplish what others thought wasn’t possible” under the Trump administration.
Among other things, CBP is responsible for apprehending and holding in detention migrant parents and children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. A recent visit by lawyers inspecting CBP facilities last week discovered that hundreds of minor detainees have been housed for weeks with inadequate food, lack of medical care, no access to clean water, and children attempting to care for toddlers.
Six children have died since late last year after being detained by CBP.
Despite it already being within the administration’s abilities to address these shortcomings, House Democratic leaders have reportedly secured the votes needed for a $4.5 billion package that would provide resources for agencies to handle the flow of migrants at the southern border. Some progressive members of the Democratic caucus had opposed allocating any money whatsoever if it was seen as helping Trump to advance his immigration agenda.
The Washington Post reports that “President Trump is preparing to name Mark Morgan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as his new border chief, according to two DHS officials and a legislative staffer briefed on the move.”
Morgan, who was tapped just in May as acting director of ICE, had been serving as national chief of the U.S. Border Patrol for three months when Trump fired him at the beginning of 2017. Morgan emerged as a commentator on Fox News late last year and has since made a name for himself by endorsing President Trump’s policies.