ICE Official Who Likened Detention Camps To ‘Summer Camp’ Will Now Lead Agency

Officials with the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee regarding the detention of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. (SEPTEMBER 18, 2018)Screengrab / C-Span

Trump tapped Albence to lead ICE for his "tougher" approach to immigration. He will start his position on Friday.

The White House has selected Matthew Albence as the new leader of Immigration and Customs Enforcement following the sudden resignation of its former head, Ron Vitiello, Buzzfeed News reports.

Albence, a career official and once an ally of previous ICE acting director Thomas Homan, has had a successful career under the Trump administration and is viewed as an individual with a tough attitude towards immigration that may be exactly what President Trump is looking for. There are no definite reports regarding how long Albence, who served as ICE's acting deputy director previously, will hold the leadership position.

The change in ICE leadership comes as no surprise, as the Trump administration continues to make major changes in the Department of Homeland Security. Last week, Trump told reporters that he yanked acting director Ron Vitiello's nomination because he desired a "tougher" approach. Vitiello told ICE employees that he will no longer be leading the agency 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 on Thursday to ICE employees.

Albence is notorious for a statement he made on Capitol Hill in July, during which he described family detention centers as "more like a summer camp," shocking advocates and politicians.

“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,” one former senior ICE official spoke of Albence. “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.”

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