Prosecutor Tabbed to Be Latest ICE Director A general view of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) heaquarters in Washington, D.C. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa via AP Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 31 December 2020 05:22 PM
A criminal prosecutor reportedly has been named to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE Principal Legal Adviser Jonathan Fahey was promoted to become the seventh person to lead the department under President Donald Trump, the Washington Examiner reported.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced Fahey's promotion in an email to staff Thursday afternoon.
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Fahey as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement," wrote Wolf, whose announcement had not been made public yet.
"As a former criminal prosecutor, Jonathan brings a wealth of experience to the position. … I am confident he will successfully lead the men and women of ICE in their mission to keep Americans safe."
How long Fahey remains is a question, with President-elect Joe Biden taking office Jan. 20. Officials overseeing an agency or department at the time a new presidential administration takes office usually are not asked to stay on.
A criminal prosecutor at the federal and state level for nearly two decades, Fahey moved to ICE in March 2020. The 48-year-old will replace exiting Senior Official Performing the Duties of Director Tony Pham, who was promoted to the role in September.
The agency has not had a Senate-confirmed director since Sarah Saldaña stepped down on January 20, 2017.
President Trump fired Daniel Ragsdale from his position atop ICE in January 2017, and Tom Homan was nominated as director. After a year and a half, Homan retired after going unconfirmed.
Ron Vitiello, the second-in-command at fellow DHS agency Customs and Border Protection, was moved to ICE and nominated in June 2018 to run the agency. His nomination was pulled in April 2019, and ICE official Matthew Albence temporarily took over.
Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan was hired at ICE and nominated in June 2018 to run the agency. His nomination was pulled in April 2019, and Albence temporarily took over in May 2019, but only stayed six weeks until he was moved to head Customs and Border Patrol.
In July 2019, Albence was promoted again to ICE director but he resigned in August. Pham, promoted ro replace Albence, said in early December that he would leave at the end of the year.