The Trump administration has tapped Matthew Albence to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the wake of the sudden resignation of its former leader.
Albence, a career official and former ally of former ICE acting director Thomas Homan, has risen quickly under the administration and is seen as an official with the type of hardline approach that President Donald Trump may appreciate.
It’s unclear how long Albence, previously the agency’s acting deputy director, will remain in the leadership role.
The shakeup at ICE comes during a particularly tumultuous period as the Trump administration makes several other changes at the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump told reporters last week that he pulled acting director Ron Vitiello’s nomination to lead ICE because he wanted to go in a “tougher” direction. Vitiello informed ICE employees that he will leave the role and resign Friday.
“Beginning tomorrow I will be out of the office, during which time Acting Deputy Director Matt Albence will be leading the agency,” he wrote to ICE employees Thursday.
A former senior ICE official said of Albence: “He’s definitely enforcement minded and has long been working on making [deportation officers] more efficient and more effective at enforcing the immigration laws in the interior. It’s hard to imagine what’s tougher than what Nielsen and Vitiello were doing, but assuming there is such a thing, Matt is certainly up to the task.”
The former official said that Albence “will be very willing to follow through on implementation.”
The new acting leader first began his career at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in the mid-’90s before moving to the Transportation Security Administration and then returning to ICE in a position overseeing operations and field training among other things. Albence has moved up the ranks at ICE since 2012, when he became a deputy assistant director.
By Hamed Aleaziz for BUZZFEED.NEWS
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