A Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Chris Stone
A Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Chris Stone

The forced resignation of U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan by the Trump Administration drew sharp criticism Friday from a San Diego-based border watchdog group.

“Mark Morgan’s sudden departure from the U.S. Border Patrol is deeply concerning,” said Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “Border communities had a respectful relationship with Chief Morgan, which fostered a dialogue process between border stakeholders and high-level officials at Customs and Border Protection.”

Morgan, who had only held the chief’s post since October, was asked to step down on Thursday, days after President Donald Trump announced a crackdown on illegal immigration and an increase in the number of Border Patrol agents that now number about 20,000.

“While President Trump campaigned on a promise to bring law and order to our country, the administration has created a leadership vacuum, leaving disorder in the nation’s largest law enforcement agency,” Ramirez said.

“Border communities have experienced brutality, abuse and death, and now without anyone at the agency’s helm, confusion and disarray could lead to greater abuses. The Border Patrol already has a history of operating with little to no transparency and accountability.”

Morgan’s last day at the agency was scheduled for Tuesday.

“All of this comes at a time when President Trump has vowed to build a wall and further militarize our communities, trampling over constitutional rights and the quality of life of millions of people,” Ramirez said. “Right now, through a federal loophole, CBP agents and officers can stop, interrogate
and search children on their way to school, parents on their way to work, families going to doctor appointments or places of worship.”

Morgan was a former FBI agent who was appointed by President Barack Obama in June and took over in October. He was the first chief who had never worked as a border patrol agent.

“The Trump Administration should commit to engaging with border communities in meaningful dialogue,” Ramirez said. “The rights and dignity of border residents and those who travel through and seek safety in our region must be protected and our quality of life preserved.”

The Southern Border Communities Coalition consists of more than 60 watchdog groups from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas.

— City News Service