President Joe Biden announced a series of nominations for critical positions throughout the nation’s federal immigration agencies, including the top positions at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The nominations are the clearest sign yet of the Biden administration’s commitment to ending all of the gains made by the Trump administration. Worse, this comes as the Biden administration continues to ignore the growing crisis on the southern border.
Chris Magnus – CBP
President Biden nominated Tucson, Arizona, police chief Chris Magnus to lead CBP. Magnus made news in 2017 when he wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times arguing that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ pro-enforcement immigration policies would make America’s cities “more dangerous.” He specifically took issue with the Justice Department’s decision to withhold federal grant funding from localities that adopted sanctuary policies. He backwardly claimed that sanctuary policies – which often led to the release of dangerous criminal aliens back into the community – are dangerous because they erode the trust between communities and police. Defenders of sanctuary policies often cite this so-called “chilling effect” as a justification for these dangerous policies, but sheriffs and police chiefs who cooperate with federal immigration enforcement are on record stating that such an effect simply does not exist.
Magnus has never served in federal law enforcement. Magnus’ lack of experience and commitment and belief in sanctuary policies reflect the Biden administration’s views on border security in general. In the midst of an ongoing immigration surge and security and humanitarian crisis, President Biden tapped an anti-enforcement advocate with zero federal immigration experience to run the federal agency responsible for enforcing border security.
Ur Jaddou – USCIS
President Biden also nominated Ur Jaddou to the position of Director of USCIS. Jaddou has been on the front lines of the immigration debate since 2002. Unlike Magnus, she has a long resume with stops in Congress, the State Department, USCIS, and at amnesty advocacy groups.
She is a dedicated open-borders zealot who, as the general counsel at USCIS under President Obama, helped implement and entrench the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with current DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Jaddou also spent nine years in the legislative branch first as Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) senior counsel and then as the majority chief counsel for the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. She then went to go work in the legislative affairs office of the State Department during the first part of President Obama’s second term before joining USCIS in 2014 as their Chief Counsel. She spent the previous four years as the director of DHS Watch at America’s Voice, an open-borders advocacy group.
Jaddou, if confirmed as the director of USCIS, would lead the agency responsible for administering the nation’s lawful immigration system, addressing matters from guestworker admissions to naturalization. While immigration enforcement is not a role performed by USCIS, Jaddou will have an outsized voice in general policy given her long career and experience. This is alarming, particularly given the fact that Biden nominated a local law enforcement official with no federal experience to run CBP and has not yet confirmed anyone to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She is close with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, having served under him when he was the deputy secretary of DHS from 2013-2016, and would work to advance his broader goals for the entire Department of Homeland Security.
Most alarming in light of the current crisis, Jaddou is a fierce critic of the use of Title 42 – a public health and safety law which gives the president the authority to bar the entry of illegal aliens into the country for health reasons. President Trump used Title 42 to quickly expel illegal aliens at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and President Biden continues applying Title 42 to single adults. Biden stripped Title 42 restrictions for unaccompanied alien children, setting off a chain reaction that created the ongoing UAC surge at our border. Jaddou does not play a role in directly applying or removing Title 42, but as the head of a major immigration agency and arguably the most experienced immigration policy expert in Biden’s team, her opinion could influence any decision to end it in the future.
Both Magnus and Jaddou will face Senate confirmation, and their prospects are uncertain. Magnus will face criticism for his lack of experience and past comments in support of sanctuary policies. Jaddou will need to explain her position on any number of important issues such as rubberstamping every immigration benefit under the sun, her stance on Title 42 during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her role as the director of DHS Watch.
Neither Magnus nor Jaddou can be expected to advance the public interest in immigration policy. Both nominees support increasing overall levels of immigration to the United States. These picks are the wrong people at the wrong time. In the midst of an ongoing border crisis, President Biden nominated two anti-enforcement candidates who will both have profound negative impacts on CBP and USCIS, if confirmed by the Senate, erasing the gains made in immigration policy under the previous administration.