In an email to staff, acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello, whose last day is Friday, said, “Beginning tomorrow I will be out of the office, during which time Acting Deputy Director Matt Albence will be leading the agency.”
Before Albence can take over the agency in an acting capacity, he must first be permanently appointed to his current position as deputy director, a senior administration official told CNN.
Vitiello announced Wednesday that he would step down on Friday after his nomination to lead ICE was abruptly withdrawn last week.
Vitiello, who appeared to be on the cusp of Senate confirmation, was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the agency in August. He previously served as chief of the US Border Patrol and acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
Last Friday, Trump told reporters that the administration intended to go “in a little different direction.” He added: “Ron’s a good man but we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.”
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller directly lobbied Trump to pull the nomination, two White House officials told CNN.
The move to withdraw the nomination came as a surprise to the Department of Homeland Security and members of Congress, sources familiar with the nomination told CNN, and kicked off a week of tumult at the department.
By Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation, and on Wednesday, acting DHS Deputy Secretary Claire Grady also left the department.
It’s not clear how long Albence will head the agency.