Ronald Vitiello, a career Border Patrol official who was backed by the agents’ union , has been named to head the agency less than a week after his predecessor resigned under pressure, reports the Associated Press. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Vitiello was appointed at a time when President Donald Trump has pledged to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and add 5,000 agents from the current level of 20,000. The National Border Patrol Council — an early backer of Trump’s presidential bid — supported Vitiello for the job and pushed for the ouster of his predecessor, Mark Morgan, who resigned last week at the request of the new administration. Morgan left seven months after being named the first outsider to run the agency since its creation in 1924.
Vitiello, most recently executive assistant commissioner for operations support, was acting Border Patrol chief when Morgan was appointed last year and had been considered a leading contender for the job then. He joined the Border Patrol more than 30 years ago and served as deputy chief in the administration of President Obama. Brandon Judd, the union president, said before Trump took office that Morgan never had the support of agents. “(Vitiello) and I do not see eye to eye on a great, great many things but we were always able to keep it respectful, always,” Judd said. “Morgan and I have not been able to do that.”