Biden administration officials claim the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been "unengaged" amid the southern border migrant crisis, Politico reported.
Five current administration officials portray CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus as "unengaged in his job" and claim he is most concerned about addressing allegations of racism and violence within the agency, Politico said.
Magnus also has been accused of falling asleep during multiple meetings, including one on how to handle the current surge of Venezuelans at the border, Politico reported.
The accusations concerning Magnus come after CBP statistics show that agents encountered 203,598 migrants at the southern border in August – increasing the number of encounters for the fiscal year to a record of more than 2 million.
"[Officials are] saying he often doesn't attend White House meetings on the situation on the border, badmouths other agencies to colleagues and superiors, and has not built relationships within CBP and across other agencies to address the influx of migrants at the border," Politico reported.
Officials added that Magnus is unfamiliar with some of CBP's operations, and instead is focused primarily on reforming the agency's culture.
"He's not in the game," one official told Politico. "Every time there's a meeting and he's in it, we'll get to a conclusion, and Magnus will have some sidebar issue that he wants to raise and we're all like 'What the f**k is that about?'"
Politico reported that some of the officials believe Magnus hasn't prioritized migrant border surge, and instead has tried to shift blame to other agencies.
Two of the outlet's sources said Magnus gave Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pages of grievances about Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for arresting and detaining undocumented people within U.S. borders.
(CBP is responsible for securing U.S. borders at and between ports of entry.)
One official told Politico that, during a trip to the border earlier this year, Magnus requested an emergency meeting with Mayorkas and senior Department of Homeland Security officials to express border agents' complaints about ICE.
Politico said Magnus insists he has spent his 10 months on the job getting up to speed on the agency's "many complex areas," and added he is "closely involved in the major DHS immigration, border security, trade, and other policy discussions."
"I've always been someone who aggressively questions the status quo, looks for ways to do things better, and engages directly with the public and workforce," Magnus said in a statement, Politico reported. "In any organization, some people are threatened by this. They don't like it when someone questions 'why' certain things must be done the way they've always been done. I'm not here to back down to the predictable challenges from those people."
Regarding accusations he fell asleep at meetings, Magnus told Politico that he experienced brief periods of tiredness as a side effect of his multiple sclerosis and medications.
Magnus, 61, is a former police chief of Tucson, Arizona. He was narrowly confirmed by the Senate last December.
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