CBP gets new chief

Border Patrol lands an agency veteran and union favorite as its new leader.

CBP chief Vitiello

The Border Patrol, a key link in U.S. border security, has a new chief as leadership at immigration and border security agencies emerges.

The change is the latest among the federal agencies that oversee immigration and customs as the White House moves ahead with ambitious plans to transform border security and immigration.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan announced via a Jan. 31 tweet that the agency had named Border Patrol veteran Ronald Vitiello as chief of the agency.

Vitiello, a 30-year veteran of the agency, rose up through the patrol's ranks. He replaces former chief Mark Morgan, who had been in the position seven months.

The union of border patrol agents, who had backed President Donald Trump as he campaigned in 2016, welcomed Vitiello's appointment and experience with the agency.

"The previous administration's attempts to treat the Border Patrol like any law enforcement agency, resulted in leadership that was reactive and in constant crisis," the National Border Patrol Council said in a statement. "As we begin to implement President Trump's plan to secure the border and protect our communities, Mr. Vitiello's experience will be invaluable," it said. "We look forward to working with Chief Vitiello."

Vitiello was deputy chief of the Border Patrol during the Obama administration, moving to CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2010, after previously serving as chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector, one of the patrol's largest and most complex operations, according to CBP.

On Jan. 30, Trump appointed Thomas Homan as acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Homan replaced Acting Director Daniel Ragsdale. Contradicting reports that Ragsdale had been fired, an ICE spokesman told FCW in an email on Jan. 31 that he will resume his position as deputy director. Ragsdale is currently listed as deputy director alongside Homan on the agency's leadership page.

Homan is also a veteran of his agency, with an extensive background with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, the agency's group responsible for tracking down, arresting and deporting criminal undocumented aliens or those that pose a threat to national security. ERO also works with immigrants who are seeking asylum in the U.S.

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