One day after President Donald Trump ordered the construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States, the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol has left the agency.
Morgan’s departure was reported by news outlets on Thursday morning and was later confirmed by U.S. Border Patrol.
“On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Border Patrol, I want to thank Mark Morgan for his unwavering dedication to our border security mission, and recognize his life-long career in service to the nation,” Kevin K. McAleenan, acting commissioner, said in a statement. “Mark Morgan’s career spans more than 31 years of faithful service to the nation, including service in the U.S. Marine Corps, as a local deputy sheriff and police officer, 20 years in the FBI, as Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs, and, finally, as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Mark Morgan, the former U.S. Border Patrol chief.
1. He Is a 20-Year Veteran of the FBI
Before coming to U.S. Border Patrol, Mark Morgan was a sheriff in Platte County, Missouri and then an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to Morgan’s bio on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, Morgan then began a career at the FBI as a special agent in 1996, working in the Los Angeles Field Office. In 2008, he served as deputy-on-scene in Iraq and was responsible for FBI personnel and operations in the Counterterrorism Division in Baghdad.
In 2009, he became special agent in charge of the FBI’s El Paso Division, where he lead counterterrorism efforts, and in 2013, he became deputy assistant director of the Inspection Division.
Morgan started with Customs and Border Protection in 2014, when he served as the acting assistant commissioner and helped redesign the organization’s Use of Force Incident Response protocols. He also launched a unit responsible for investigating administrative misconduct. Finally, in 2015, Morgan became assistant director of the FBI’s Training Division in Quantico, Virginia.
2. He Was the First Outsider to Lead the Border Patrol Agency
Mark Morgan was appointed chief of the U.S. Border Patrol agency in June 2016, and this decision was not without controversy.
According to CBS, Morgan was the first outsider to lead the Border Patrol agency since its inception in 1924, and the Border Patrol’s union opposed his appointment, wanting someone within the agency to be chief.
This union, the National Border Patrol Council, formally endorsed Donald Trump for president during the 2016 election. Trump often incorrectly stated that the agency itself had endorsed him rather than a union.
“Mr. Trump will take on special interests and embrace the ideas of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents rather than listening to the management yes-men who say whatever they are programmed to say,” the National Border Patrol Council said in a statement upon endorsing Trump. “This is a refreshing change that we have not seen before – and may never see again.”
3. He Testified in Front of Congress and Advocated for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
In November, Mark Morgan testified before Congress and angered some within the Border Patrol’s union when he said he was in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.
During the hearing, Morgan said, “I think [comprehensive immigration reform] is definitely needed and we fully support that.”
The National Border Patrol Council criticized Morgan for his remarks to Congress.
Morgan issued a statement in response clarifying his position and saying he does not support blanket amnesty.
“I want to be clear what my position is regarding immigration reform,” he said. “I do not, as some have suggested, support what is often referred to as ‘blanket amnesty.’ This assertion could not be further from my position. I encourage everyone to listen to my testimony.”
4. The National Border Patrol Council Called Him a ‘Disgrace’
In November 2016, the executive board of the National Border Patrol Council said in an op-ed for the conservative website Breitbart that Mark Morgan is a “disgrace,” in particular pointing to his testimony in front of Congress in which he advocated for some sort of immigration reform.
“Chief Morgan, the head of the Office of Border Patrol who by law is supposed to stay politically neutral, and who is not supposed to advocate for partisan legislation, agreed with Senator Carper by stating that the Border Patrol supports comprehensive immigration reform,” they wrote. “This is directly contrary to the voice and will of the vast majority of the Republicans elected to Congress. It is also directly contrary to President-elect Trump’s comments while on the campaign trail.”
The op-ed goes on to say that Morgan’s position is “tenuous at best” and that he “does not have the will necessary to secure the border for the citizens and legal residents of this country.”
5. He Was Reportedly Asked to Step Down
It was not initially clear today whether Morgan quit the position or was asked to leave, but ABC News is now reporting that it was the latter; Morgan reportedly held a video call with Border Patrol agents today in which he said he was asked to leave and that he decided to step down rather than fight this request.
When President Donald Trump paid a visit on Wednesday to the Homeland Security Department, Morgan was reportedly not in attendance.
And during his speech, President Trump specifically thanked Brandon Judd, president of the union that called Mark Morgan a “disgrace,” but did not mention Morgan at all.
“Before we go any further, I want to recognize the ICE and border patrol officers in this room today, and to honor their service, and not just because they unanimously endorsed me for president,” Trump said at the top of his speech. “That helps, but that’s not the only reason.”