Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security John Tien unexpectedly resigned this week amidst the overshadowing news of Trump’s indictment and a missing submersible.
Tien’s departure follows the resignations of US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting chief Tae Johnson, and Customs and Border Protection Chief Chris Magnus in recent months.
While Tien officially cites a desire to spend more time with his family, this explanation seems euphemistic given his recent interviews discussing his enthusiasm for the job and the importance of visibility and communication.
However, like Magnus, Johnson, and Ortiz, it is unlikely that Tien will have a public presence within the government going forward.
Speculation surrounding their departures is inevitable, and efforts to prevent a sizable increase in border crossings with an election year on the horizon may have influenced their decisions.
Tien, for instance, recently declined to affirm his belief that illegal border crossing should be considered a crime.
During an interview with The Times on Friday, Magnus expressed his refusal to comply with the request to resign his post, revealing that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas was the one who appealed for his departure.
Magnus, recognized as a forward-thinking figure in law enforcement, encountered challenges in gaining widespread recognition following his confirmation by the Senate in December.
Magnus resigned in November amidst pressure to reduce border crossings. This conflicted with Magnus’s support for sanctuary cities and states and his focus on increasing female recruitment and addressing agents’ social media activity.
Ortiz, who had served for 32 years, retired from his role at Border Patrol in May, stating that his extensive career and experience influenced his decision.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, illegal border crossings have reached or neared record highs.
It was widely anticipated, including by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, that the situation would worsen significantly following the expiration of Trump-era Title 42 border controls in May.
However, hastily implemented Title 8 controls criminalizing illegal entry have thus far prevented the worst-case scenario.
Nevertheless, the number of migrants presenting themselves at entry points has reached an all-time high as an unintended consequence of these measures.