President Joe Biden has attracted mixed reviews for his efforts to repeal as many immigration and border policies implemented by his predecessor as possible during his first few months in office.
Now, reports suggest he recently pressured a top Trump-era Customs and Border Protection official to retire.
Efforts to push Perez out
Robert Perez, a 29-year veteran of federal law enforcement promoted by former President Donald Trump in 2018 to serve as CBP deputy commissioner, was previously the director of field operations for the agency’s New York field office.
According to the Washington Examiner, “two people with firsthand knowledge” confirmed that Biden wanted to remove Perez from the second-highest-ranking position and transferred him to a position in Tucson, Arizona.
Instead, Perez has reportedly opted to simply retire altogether.
One of the reasons for the Biden administration’s efforts to get rid of Perez was to replace him with Troy Miller.
Like Perez, Miller previously served as director of field operations for CBP’s New York office. Since the beginning of the Biden administration, he has been performing the duties of commissioner.
Reasons for the opposition
Miller took over the post on a temporary basis but is now seen as the favored candidate to serve as deputy commissioner after helping to implement the president’s immigration policies, in part by instructing CPB employees not to use terms like “illegal alien” to refer to undocumented migrants.
It is unclear whether Perez was also sympathetic to Biden’s border plan, but considering the apparent efforts to force him out, it would seem that he was not.
The agency’s deputy commissioner oversees immigration, national security, trade, and travel operations, meaning it is an influential and important job.
Furthermore, a nominee to fill it does not require Senate confirmation, as does the top position of commissioner. Biden has named former Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus as his pick to lead the CPB.
If the president goes forward with his selection of Miller, the transition would be expected to take place sometime during this upcoming week. Neither Perez nor CPB sources agreed to speak on the record in response to requests for comment by the Examiner.