Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott on Wednesday informed colleagues that he was asked to step aside amid a surge in illegal migration along the US-Mexico border.
Scott shared his decision on the same day as Vice President Kamala Harris announced her first trip to the border to view the effects of this year’s surge in migration, though it’s not immediately clear if his decision was connected to Harris’s plans.
Scott, in office since January 2020, told regional Border Patrol leader of his abrupt exit in a video conference, the Washington Examiner first reported.
In a subsequent Facebook post, he made clear that he was asked to step down and that he will do so after helping ensure a smooth transition.
“I received my 3R letter today. For those not familiar, that is Federal government slang for the letter issued to SES level employees informing them of a directed reassignment. The recipient has 3 options — relocate, resign, or retire,” Scott wrote. “No rationale or reason is required, nor is it disciplinary. Just a simple needs of the service directed reassignment so the new administration can place the person they want in the position. I will remain in my current position for about 60 days +/-.”
Border agents have been overwhelmed by a surge of illegal immigration since Biden took office in January. Biden tapped Harris in March to serve as his migration czar, though she has stressed her focus is on the “root causes” and not border enforcement.
Republicans argue that Biden administration policies are to blame for the surge in migration — a stance also taken by Guatemala’s president as well as Mexico’s president.
The number of US-Mexico border detentions soared to a 21-year monthly high of more than 180,000 in April. More than 172,000 people were detained in March.
At her daily briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argued that the administration was successfully addressing issues at the border, specifically with reducing crowding at detention facilities for minors.
But when a reporter pressed Psaki on the fact that monthly border apprehensions are as high as ever, she clarified that the results of Harris’ work remain to be seen.
“I think the vice president has made a number of announcements about coordinated efforts with countries in the region, in the Northern Triangle, through her leadership in that area, and we’ll be able to assess over time what it looks like in terms of migration numbers,” Psaki said.
Harris this month visited Guatemala and Mexico, where she was dogged by questions about when she would visit the border. Her trip on Friday will be to El Paso, Texas.