The chief U.S. customs and border enforcement official is stepping down amid an uproar over the treatment of migrant children detained along the border with Mexico, U.S. media reported Tuesday.
John Sanders will resign as acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) in the coming weeks, The New York Times cited a federal official as saying. In a copy of a message to employees published by Axios, Sanders said his resignation is effective July 5.
This is what resigning Customs and Border Patrol acting head John Sanders said to employees: “This is your organization… own it!” pic.twitter.com/WHX0vBhtNg
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) June 25, 2019
His departure comes amid mounting public backlash over alarmingly unsanitary conditions at an overcrowded migrant facility in Clint, Texas where the discovery of poor care and lack of access to showers or clean clothing prompted the relocation of 250 detained children.
Sanders has led the agency since April, when U.S. President Donald Trump reshuffled his immigration offices and tapped CBP Chief Kevin McAleenan to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
"I didn't speak to him. I don't think I've ever spoken to him, actually," President Trump says when asked if he asked John Sanders, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, to resign https://t.co/tjJFOiLvtv pic.twitter.com/aluKhIOvyj
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 25, 2019
Neither the federal official speaking to the Times or Sanders in his message said whether the resignation was connected to criticism over the agency’s handling of the substantial influx of migrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border.