Homeland Security officials blindsided, confused by Trump's apparent withdrawal of ICE chief nomination
The White House sent Congress paperwork Thursday night to withdraw the nomination of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement director Ron Vitiello, who will remain acting ICE director until President Trump picks a new nominee, The Associated Press reports. Vitiello had been scheduled to travel to the California-Mexico border with Trump on Friday, but on official told AP that Vitiello is no longer going.
"One Homeland Security official insisted it was nothing but a paperwork error that had later been corrected," AP reports. "But other, higher-level officials said the move did not appear to be a mistake, even though they were not informed ahead of time."
Vititello began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Border Patrol in 1985, and he had risen to Border Patrol chief when Trump tapped him to be acting ICE head in June 2018. Trump nominated him as permanent director in August, he had his Senate confirmation hearing in November, and he'd cleared one of two committees. ICE is charged with enforcing immigration law inside the U.S., including arresting immigrants in the country without permission.