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Friday, May 20th, 2022

Rep. Portman seeks answers from Customs and Border Protection nominee on crisis at Southern Border

© City of Tucson
Chris Magnus

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, grilled Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), on the need for enhanced border security technology.

In March, Portman visited El Paso and saw construction materials, already appropriated by Congress for the installation of enhanced border security technology, lying on the ground at the border. Additionally, Portman said he heard directly from Border Patrol officers that enhancing border security was an important part of completing their national security mission.

Portman asked Magnus about his plans, if confirmed, to put into place policies that would address the “migrant crisis” brought about, he said, by the Biden administration’s dismantling of the previous administration’s border policies. Portman said the administration’s handling of border security was leading to a historic surge in illegal immigrants, unaccompanied children, and narcotics entering the country.

The country needs an orderly and lawful asylum system, he said, while addressing the “pull factor” that incentivizes migrants to journey to the United States.

“Obviously, the message is going to have to be clear that we intend to follow the law,” Magnus said. “We’re going to have to do more clear messaging, at every level of government, and that includes effective, even social media messaging. We’re going to have to do more to anticipate surges and work with the Mexican government around that. I am, as I’ve mentioned, very interested and open to working with my counterparts in Mexico and building the strongest possible relations there.”

Magnus said he agreed with Portman that the asylum system should be improved and that fixing it would take a bipartisan approach. He also said he wanted to provide the agents at the border with the best possible resources, including improvements in technology.