In a welcome sign of attention to the border crisis, President Trump announced on Sunday the nomination of Mark Morgan, a strong advocate for aggressively ending the border surge, as director of ICE.
Morgan was chief of the Border Patrol during the end of Obama’s second term and was removed by Trump shortly after he took office, in a clean sweep of some of Obama’s appointments. Yet rather than taking revenge against the administration on the cabal news circuit, as is traditionally the modus operandi of fired officials, Morgan became an aggressive advocate both on TV and in congressional testimony for bolstering administrative efforts to stem the flow at the border. Now, in a clear understanding that ICE is just as important as Customs and Border Protection to the equation of defending our sovereignty, Morgan has been nominated as the next ICE director in place of acting director Ron Vitiello.
Prior to serving as Border Patrol chief in 2016, Morgan was a career FBI agent with a deep understanding of transnational gangs and cartels. After serving for 10 years in the Marines and as a Los Angeles police officer, he became a special agent with the FBI in 1996. Morgan dealt specifically with the criminal problems from illegal aliens in both the Los Angeles and El Paso field offices. In 2005, he was appointed supervisor of an FBI-led Hispanic gang task force in Los Angeles that focused on the emerging presence of MS-13 and the 18th Street gangs. From 2011 to 2013, Morgan served as the FBI’s special agent in charge of the FBI’s El Paso Division, with responsibility for dealing with many threats stemming from the border. He served in various leadership positions at the FBI until becoming Border Patrol chief in 2016.
Recently, Morgan has been an outspoken mainstay on many cable news shows advocating that the administration use the latitude accorded to it by current law to begin deporting as many Central Americans as possible to deter future waves from making the dangerous trek.
The position of ICE director is just as important in fighting back against the border surge as the head of Customs and Border Protection, and Morgan seems to have a crystal clear view of what is at stake.
He minced no words in riveting testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees last month on the severity of the border crisis. Rather than focusing solely on the needs of the illegal aliens, as so many government officials have done, Morgan explained his position that “our country is at a critical crossroads.” He noted that our de facto open-border policy is “counterintuitive to the rule of law and defies basic principles of sovereignty.”
The important principle that Morgan seems to understand is that when you have a lawless border, there are a number of very dangerous people coming in, not all harmless people seeking the American dream, as the media portrays them. Both in appearances on my podcast and in congressional testimony, Morgan made it clear that a number of these Central Americans, particularly the young males, are vulnerable to gang activity. “Most of these family members we’re allowing in, we can’t properly vet. Let that soak in for just a second,” said Morgan at the Senate hearing on April 4. “We’re letting in tens of thousands of people in this country every day who we know virtually nothing about.”
One thing that struck me during the hearing was that while others kept focusing on push factors of migration in home countries, Morgan kept focusing on our ability to control our own destiny and sovereignty by eliminating the magnets. He clearly did not know he’d be chosen as ICE director one day, because then-acting director Vitiello was the pending nominee before the Senate. But Morgan kept focusing on interior enforcement as a back-end tool to disincentivize the current wave at the border.
“We need to support and increase ICE enforcement, interior enforcement,” said Morgan, referencing the over one million illegal aliens with final deportation orders who still remain here illegally. “If we start an enforcement operation to remove those individuals, you will also make a huge dent on the incentive.”
Right now, there are over one million illegal aliens who have gone through the ridiculously arduous process of getting a deportation order, yet they have not been deported. Hundreds of thousands of them are Central Americans. As I’ve noted, there are also over 50,000 from countries of terrorist concern.
Morgan’s oral and written testimony provide a glimpse into what sort of ICE director he will be. He closed his testimony by invoking the “Angel families,” familes of Americans killed by illegal aliens, and how one story for him “serves as a reminder – as it should for all of us – how we have failed.”
“For a very long time, we have failed to do what is required to repair our broken immigration system. Our collective failure has resulted in the pain, suffering, and [irreparable] harm of unfathomable numbers of people.”
Morgan seems to feel a sense of urgency to act decisively, using the robust tools Congress gave to the agency in 1996, yet those tools have not been used.
Indeed, there is no more impactful position for finally righting this ship of enforcing existing immigration law and preventing so many avoidable and reddresable crimes than that of ICE Director. President Trump appears to have made both a bold and smart choice in Morgan. He’s a man with a mission.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.