The Biden administration is forcing out the career law enforcement official overseeing the U.S. Border Patrol and will temporarily replace him with the second in command, the Washington Examiner has learned.
Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott informed regional chiefs from around the country in a video conference Wednesday of his plans to leave, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the final decision to get rid of Scott, all three people said.
One person said the move was not related to Scott’s performance over the past 18 months or how he has handled the surge of people coming across the southern border since President Joe Biden took office. Instead, the move was “completely driven by politics,” even though Scott’s position is apolitical and he is a 29-year law enforcement official at the Border Patrol.
“This is unprecedented,” said the first person.
Scott was given what Border Patrol agents refer to as the “three R letter,” which stands for resign, retire, or relocate. Scott did not respond to a request for comment about his departure. In a post to his personal Facebook page, Scott wrote that he had received his letter today asking him to leave his post.
“I received my 3R letter today. For those not familiar, that is Federal government slang for the letter issued to [Senior Executive Service] level employees informing them of a directed reassignment. The recipient has 3 options- relocate, resign, or retire. No rationale or reason is required, nor is it disciplinary,” Scott wrote.
“Just a simple needs of the service directed reassignment so the new administration can place the person they want in the position,” Scott continued. “A huge thank you to all those who have reached out, prayed and supported me and my family, especially over these last few crazy months. I remain confident that God is in control. And….. over 29 yrs is a pretty good run!”
The move comes five months into the Biden administration, while Border Patrol’s parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has struggled to get a leader confirmed by the Senate. Biden nominated Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus for the job in mid-April. Magnus’s department came under scrutiny last June for how officers restrained a Hispanic man. The man, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, died while in police custody.
A second person familiar with internal considerations about Magnus’s nomination said the administration is considering moving him to be Border Patrol chief because he would not need to get congressional approval to work in that position.
“They forced Bob Perez out, too,” the first person said, referring to the CBP deputy commissioner. “These are both career officials.”
CBP and DHS did not respond to requests for comment.