Biden Nominee Chris Magnus ‘Wholly Unfit’ to Lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Press Releases

October 18, 2021

IRLI investigation finds a long history of anti-ICE, pro-sanctuary radicalism

WASHINGTON—As Congress schedules a confirmation hearing for Chris Magnus, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has discovered a series of activities in Magnus’ past that raise troubling questions about his fitness for the position.

Magnus, the former chief of police in Richmond, Calif., who currently holds the same position in Tucson, Ariz., has been a longtime critic of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity to remove criminal aliens from communities. He instead favors “community policing,” which by his definition includes opposing cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement to remove dangerous illegal aliens from our cities.

According to documents from the Richmond Police Department obtained by IRLI, Magnus has a long history of animosity for ICE working with local law enforcement to make communities safer. He edited policies for his staff that explicitly limited their cooperation and interaction with federal immigration authorities. More details on the findings of the investigation can be found here.

He also wrote a letter to then-California Gov. Jerry Brown where he attacked ICE’s Secure Communities program and voiced strong support for AB 4, or the Trust Act, now law in California which makes it more difficult for ICE to apprehend criminal non-citizens. 

In an email to the staffer of a Democratic U.S. congressman from California on July 28, 2015, Magnus praised an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee that urged the public not to change sanctuary laws in the wake of Kate Steinle’s death. Steinle was shot and killed in San Francisco by an illegal alien from Mexico who was previously deported five times and admitted to police he came to the city because of its lenient sanctuary laws.   

In perhaps the most dramatic example of his radical beliefs while serving as police chief in Richmond, Magnus was photographed holding a “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) sign with demonstrators at a rally. After the Richmond Police Officers Association publicly complained that he was violating state law by politicking in uniform, Magnus replied, “I would do it again.”

Among its many extremist positions, BLM has actively campaigned to defund local police around the country, which has resulted in crime spikes in many numerous cities. The group’s leaders also identify it as openly Marxist, seek the breakdown of the nuclear family in America and helped foment the destructive and deadly riots that swept across the country last summer.

“It is not surprising that the Biden administration nominated Chris Magnus to head CBP,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “He wants to end cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE, supports groups that advocate to defund the police, and is a vocal supporter of sanctuary laws that make communities more dangerous. He is wholly unfit to lead such a critical agency, and the Senate should reject his nomination.”

Other open-source findings from the investigation:

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