Biden to nominate Trump critics to lead border and immigration agencies

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about jobs and the economy at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON, April 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden intends to nominate two critics of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies to key positions in his administration, a White House official said on Monday, signaling a continued push to ease Trump's restrictions on migration.

Biden will tap Chris Magnus, the chief of police in Tucson, Arizona, to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency charged with border security and facilitating legal trade and travel, the official said. Biden will nominate Ur Jaddou as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which handles immigration paperwork and processing.

The Democratic president has reversed many of his Republican predecessor's immigration policies. Biden's immigration actions have pleased his Democratic base but outraged many Republicans, who accuse him of encouraging illegal immigration as the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border has soared in recent months.

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Magnus and Jaddou must be approved by the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats. The chamber is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.

The New York Times first reported the nominations.

Magnus served in the Lansing, Michigan Police Department, and was police chief in the cities of Fargo, North Dakota, and Richmond, California, before landing in Tucson, Arizona, the White House official said.

"In each of these cities Chief Magnus developed a reputation as a progressive police leader who focused on relationship-building between the police and community, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting reform, and insisting on police accountability," the official said in a statement.

Magnus offered to resign as Tucson police chief last year over the death of a man in custody who said he could not breathe after he was handcuffed and restrained face down. The Tucson city manager rejected his resignation offer.

During the Trump administration, Jaddou worked for the Washington-based immigrant advocacy group America's Voice as director of DHS Watch, a project that sought to uphold transparency and accountability at the Department of Homeland Security and frequently criticized Trump's policies.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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