Head Of ICE Reportedly Steps Down After Apparently Clashing With The White House Over Treatment Of Immigrants During Pandemic

He was too nice for the Trump administration.

617 points

Matthew Albence, the current acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is retiring from life in the government after bouncing around between various roles and ultimately coming to a serious disagreement with the Trump administration over how ICE-related enforcement should take place during the pandemic we’ve been in since March.

Much has been made of the treatment of immigrants swept up in Trump’s enhanced border enforcement policies, as the facilities that children and separated families are held in have tested positive all along the border for COVID-19.

Back in March, under Albence’s direction, ICE adopted a stance not unlike that of the Obama administration, releasing a statement at the time that essentially said that deportation priority would be given to those guilty of crimes other than simply entering the country illegally:


ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”

That prompted White House insiders to characterize Albence’s position in regard to the administration’s stance as “on thin ice.”

Then in May, Albence, who has spent his entire career in law enforcement, clashed with the White House once again as he refused to employ a number of political appointees inside his department that were hand-picked by Trump loyalists looking to stock ICE with agents and directors who were similarly loyal.

Even on his way out as he issued a statement Friday morning, Albence took one last jab at the administration, calling out the “constant politicization” of ICE’s mission:

I am honored and beyond grateful to have served with the most dedicated men and women in law enforcement. Every day, against incredible odds, constant politicization, and misperceptions of the incredibly critical and complex mission they perform, ICE employees carry on with professionalism and integrity.”

We’re sure Trump will have kind words for him on Twitter.

Featured image via Flickr/US Customs and Border Patrol, under Government Work license

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