John Sanders, the Acting Director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, has announced his resignation effective July 5, CNN reports. The announcement comes not long after it was revealed that the agency is returning 100 children to a Texas detention facility that has been criticized for is purportedly inhumane conditions.
In a letter made public on Tuesday, Sanders tells employees of his agency that he had given notice to his own boss, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, of his intent to quit, on Monday. The letter did not mention a reason for his leaving the job.
Sanders’ resignation letter doesn’t mention any of the controversies that have bedeviled the agency during the Trump administration. Rather, it reads like a love letter to his employees, thanking them for their dedication and encouraging them to keep up the good work.
“I therefore encourage everyone to reflect on all that you have accomplished as a team. My hope is you build upon your accomplishments and embrace new opportunities, remain flexible, and continue to make CBP extraordinary,” Sanders wrote.
As The New York Times reports, Sanders’ resignation was announced not long after it was revealed that the agency is returning 100 children to a detention facility in Texas that has been criticized for its purportedly inhumane conditions.
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A group of attorneys representing migrants housed at the Clint, Texas, facility visited and complained that, among other things, children held there were denied access to showers or clean clothing and were not given sufficient food.
It bears noting that, as of this writing, it’s not clear if Sanders’ resignation is in any way related to that particular bit of news, or to any of the controversies that have beset the embattled agency during the Trump administration. Similarly, the agency has been criticized in recent days over its handling of a “large influx” of migrant families, claims the Times.
Sanders’ resignation is the latest departure in an administration that has seen a comparatively high degree of turnover. As NBC News reported in March, at the time no fewer than 282 of just over 700 key executive branch jobs were vacant. Those included, among multiple others, an acting secretary of defense, an acting interior secretary, an acting chief of staff, an acting United Nations ambassador, and an acting Drug Enforcement Agency administrator.
At the time, Trump said that he “sort-of like[s]” having key positions filled by “acting” personnel, saying that it afforded him more flexibility.