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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Resigns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Resigns

McCarthy demands resignation of DHS chief Mayorkas, says investigations await if he remains at post

By Paul Demko

April 5, 2014

The chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has resigned amid controversy over his handling of the deaths of two women who crossed the border illegally.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Morton stepped aside on Friday after acknowledging a lack of oversight and discipline internally in his agency.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Morton’s resignation Friday morning. The move comes after the resignation of his chief of staff, Acting Commissioner John Wetterling, on Wednesday.

Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said a search was underway for a new interim leader.

The resignation will create a leadership vacuum at the department where the new chief will be able to appoint an acting chief as acting commissioner, while the acting commissioner can also appoint an acting chief of staff.

Morton said in a statement that he planned to return to government service and to remain committed to the department’s mission.

“It has been an honor to serve the American people and the agency he leads, and I am grateful for the opportunity to bring the vision and leadership of the nation’s most secure border control, information-sharing and law enforcement operations to the Department of Homeland Security,” Morton said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing working with Secretary McAleenan and the team he has put together to build on our successes.”

Two Border Patrol agents were killed and dozens more were wounded Saturday in a series of crashes involving their patrol cars in the Rio Grande Valley near El Paso. Law enforcement sources said three agents were involved in the crashes but it was not clear which of their team members was at the wheel and which of the vehicles collided.

A second Border Patrol agent was flown to a hospital in critical condition. The agent involved in the crash is not the same one who has been injured in separate crashes in the past two days.

The first victim was identified as 35-year-old Alex Espinoza from El Paso who died after he was flown to New Mexico

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