Trump picks former border chief to lead immigration enforcement

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday named a former Obama administration official who has embraced some of Trump’s hard-line positions on border security, as the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of a broad effort to force federal agencies into a more aggressive crackdown on migrants.

The pick, Mark Morgan, served as the Border Patrol chief the last three months of the Obama administration, and was previously the head of internal affairs at United States Customs and Border Protection. He will lead the agency that arrests, detains and deports people who are in the United States illegally, after Trump last month withdrew his previous nominee, Ronald D. Vitiello, saying he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher direction.”

“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,” Trump said in a tweet. “Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!”

Morgan, who has also been an FBI agent and served in the Marine Corps, seems to have positioned himself as the type of aggressive leader Trump has desired in recent months as he has shaken up the Department of Homeland Security, pushing out a wave of top officials, including Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The president has grown frustrated with his own administration’s handling of immigration and other security issues, with apprehensions at the southern border soaring and some officials resisting policies they deemed impractical or illegal.

In recent interviews with Fox News, Morgan has displayed much more enthusiasm for the aggressive policies backed by Trump and Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s immigration agenda.

Still, the choice of Morgan was surprising, given that he was forced out as Border Patrol chief days after Trump took office.

Morgan will need to pass Senate confirmation before he is named the official director of ICE.

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