WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday named Mark Morgan, a former Obama administration official who has aligned himself with some of Mr. Trump’s hard-line positions on border security, as the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Morgan served as the Border Patrol chief at the end of the Obama administration, and was also previously an F.B.I. agent. He will lead the agency that arrests, detains and deports people who are in the United States illegally, after Mr. Trump last month withdrew his previous nominee, Ronald D. Vitiello, saying he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher direction.”
“I am pleased to inform all of those that believe in a strong, fair and sound Immigration Policy that Mark Morgan will be joining the Trump Administration as the head of our hard working men and women of ICE,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet. “Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!”
The move continues a leadership churn at the Department of Homeland Security as Mr. Trump seeks to overhaul the department. In recent weeks, the president has forced out multiple top officials, including former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Though Mr. Morgan served in the Obama administration, he has backed some of Mr. Trump’s tougher immigration positions.
In an interview on Fox News on April 15, Mr. Morgan said he supported Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he might send migrants crossing the border to so-called sanctuary cities that are defying a crackdown by ICE.
“I’ve been there. The Border Patrol, ICE, their facilities are overwhelmed, the faith-based organizations and other nongovernmental organizations are overwhelmed,” Mr. Morgan said in the interview. “They have no choice. They’re going to have to start pushing these individuals out. Shouldn’t we kind of share the burden throughout the country?”
Mr. Morgan also strongly backed Mr. Trump’s characterization of the problems at the border as a security crisis. Democrats have said the issues are far more humanitarian in nature.
“What the president is saying and what they’re trying to do as far as the policy goes, it’s based on reality and fact, and I know that because he’s listening to the experts,” Mr. Morgan said in the Fox interview. “Not political pundits, not talking heads, he is listening to experts. Anyone who says this a manufactured crisis is absolutely misleading the American people.”
A spokeswoman for ICE referred a request for comment to the White House. The White House did not immediately respond.