SAN DIEGO (AP) — A longtime Border Patrol official who is backed by the agents’ union has been named chief of the agency, less than a week after his predecessor resigned under pressure.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday on Twitter than Ronald Vitiello has been appointed to lead the agency at a time when President Donald Trump has pledged to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and add 5,000 agents from the current level of about 20,000.
The National Border Patrol Council — an early and outspoken backer of Donald Trump’s presidential bid — openly supported Vitiello for the job and pushed for the ouster of his predecessor, Mark Morgan, who resigned last week at the request of the new administration.
Morgan left office only seven months after being named the first outsider to lead the agency since it was founded in 1924.
From the start, he clashed with the Border Patrol’s union, which endorsed Trump early and forcefully during the presidential campaign. The Council had advocated for an insider to lead the agency and sharply criticized Morgan at almost every turn.