Tucson, Arizona’s Chief of Police Chris Magnus made headlines by opposing a proposal even supported at one point by the Obama administration to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
Now, as President Biden’s nominee to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection, it seems Magnus will push the Biden administration’s stance on border security further left.
As police chief, Magnus rejected a federal grant in January 2020 to help local law enforcement in border towns. He argued that it didn’t align with the views of the Tucson Police Department. (RELATED: Violent Crime Spike Linked to Defund Police Movement)
Although Magnus’ opposition came in the face of years of bipartisan support for the policy, he remained adamant.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
His opposition to the grant was partially rooted in the Trump administration’s refusal to let Tucson spend part of the grant money on humanitarian aid. Magnus’s request went far beyond the parameters of the program, called Operation Stonegarden, which “funds investments in joint efforts to secure the United States’ borders.” A description of the latest iteration of the program under the Biden administration does not say whether funds may be used for medical treatment or housing illegal immigrants.
Even Democrats Called the Grants “Critical”
Operation Stonegarden was championed by former president Barack Obama, who injected millions more dollars into the program than was allocated by the Bush administration as part of a broader effort to deter narcotics trafficking and cartel violence. Former Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano called the grants “critical” and said they would “ensure that our first responders are equipped with the resources they need to confront the complex and dynamic challenges that exist along our borders.”
As the southern border sees a record number of crossings, the Biden administration remains committed to liberalizing the nation’s immigration system with a range of new policies, including relaxed asylum rules, stricter deportation protocols, and fewer raids against suspected illegal immigrants. Magnus appears prepared to oversee these policies. In 2017, he wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times that he was “deeply troubled” by the Trump administration’s opposition to local sanctuary policies, a practice by Democrat-controlled cities that sharply limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Magnus’s decision to reject the funds in 2020 sparked outrage from his own department, with the Tucson Police Officers Association calling the decision “bad for public safety in our community.”
As president, Joe Biden reversed the Obama-era policy.