John Sanders has only been the Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection for a little over two months but today he announced his resignation effective July 5th. The NY Times was the first to report it:
The Customs and Border Protection agency’s acting commissioner, John Sanders, is expected to step down in the coming weeks as the government’s primary border enforcement executive, a federal official said Tuesday, a development that comes as the agency faces continuing public fury over the treatment of detained migrant children…
The official who confirmed his resignation, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said it was not clear whether the impending resignation was connected to recent criticism over the agency’s management of a large influx of migrant families along the border.
Sanders got the job in April after DHS Director Kristjen Nielsen resigned and was replaced by then-CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. As the Times reported, it’s not clear why Sanders is stepping down but it may have something to do with the recent news report on a detention center in Clint, Texas. From the Associated Press story last week:
A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they’ve been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station.
After that report, CBP moved 300 kids out of the Clint facility. But today, officials said 100 children were being returned to the site:
U.S. government officials say they’ve moved more than 100 kids back to a remote border facility where lawyers reported detained children were caring for each other and had inadequate food, water, and sanitation.
An official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday that the “majority” of the roughly 300 children detained at Clint, Texas, last week have been placed in facilities operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
The official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, wouldn’t say exactly how many children are currently detained there. But the official says Clint is better equipped than some of the Border Patrol’s tents to hold children.
There isn’t any word yet on who will be taking over the CBP job but, at this moment, I can’t imagine who would want it. Even if the House passes an emergency funding bill today, it will take time to put that money to use and sort out the overwhelmed agency.
Meanwhile, Democrats never let a crisis go to waste and that includes the current crisis at the border. They are going to continue to make political hay out of this mess even though a) they never seemed to care about these conditions when Obama was President, b) Republicans have been saying for months that CBP was overwhelmed while Democrats called it a “manufactured crisis” and c) the solutions favored by many progressives (abolish ICE, eliminate detention centers) would inevitably make the situation worse.
So best of luck to whoever they find to take on this job next. He (or she) is going to need it.