Earlier this year, President Joe Biden nominated Tucson’s police chief to become the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
Police Chief Chris Magnus, who is a member of the LGBTQ community and has been with his husband for 15 years, has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016. He has over 30 years of experience in policing and previously served as police chief in Fargo, North Dakota, and Richmond, California.
He is known for being a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and is expected to shake things up at the border if his nomination is confirmed.
In the nomination announcement, the White House said that Magnus has a “reputation as a progressive police leader who focused on relationship-building between the police and community.” They also said that he has “extensive experience in addressing immigration issues” because of Tucson’s proximity to the border.
Back in 2017, Magnus wrote an opinion article for the New York Times saying that he was “deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s campaign against ‘sanctuary cities.’” He said that forcing local police officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities would compromise public safety.
“If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses,” Magnus wrote.
His time as Tucson’s police chief has not been without incident. Last year, Magnus offered to resign after the death of 27-year-old Carlos Ingram Lopez while he was in custody.
This prompted protests after the police department delayed both notifying the public and reviewing videos of the arrest. The three officers involved in the incident resigned, while Tucson’s mayor did not accept Magnus’s resignation.
After his nomination was announced, Magnus declined interviews but released a statement through the Tucson Police Department.
“The confirmation process is never a certainty. As the Senate moves forward with its deliberations, I remain committed to serving as your Chief of Police to the best of my ability,” he said.