President Donald Trump announced his choice to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a tweet on Sunday, taking ICE officials by surprise. Trump named Mark Morgan to head the agency. Morgan had previously served as head of U.S. Border Patrol under President Barack Obama.
“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. Mark is a true believer and American Patriot,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a great job!”
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. Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019
According to one senior administration official who spoke to the Washington Post, “ICE leadership had no advance notice of Morgan’s selection before the tweet.”
Morgan began his career in the FBI and served as head of U.S. Border Patrol toward the end of the Obama Administration. After he was removed from that role when Trump took office, Morgan began publicly stating that he agreed with Trump on many policies.
“I was removed. I’m standing up and saying, ‘I should have disdain for [the Trump Administration], but I don’t because they are right,” he told Law and Crime in January, adding, “The wall works.”
“I’ve been there. The Border Patrol, ICE, their facilities are overwhelmed, the faith-based organizations and other nongovernmental organizations are overwhelmed,” Morgan told Fox News. “They have no choice. They’re going to have to start pushing these individuals out. Shouldn’t we kind of share the burden throughout the country?”
Morgan went on to admit there are “some questions of legality” with that plan and “some issues with logistics,” although that’s never stopped the Trump Administration from acting in the past.
Trump previously had nominated Ronald D. Vitiello to lead the agency, but in April he withdrew Vitiello’s nomination, stating that he wanted ICE to move in a “tougher direction.”