U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is set to welcome new leadership in the near future following the impending retirement of its acting director, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
Matt Albence issued a statement on Thursday confirming he would be stepping down.
“An exceptionally hard decision”
“After more than 25 years as a federal law enforcement officer, I am announcing my retirement from federal service,” he said.
Calling it “an exceptionally hard decision to make,” Albence said that it had been “prolonged due to the uncertainty of a global pandemic and the essential role ICE continues to play in our nation’s response.”
In a statement the following day, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf offered warm words of praise and thanked him for his service.
“As the senior law enforcement official for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he successfully led ICE to record-breaking criminal arrests and seizures in furtherance of ICE’s critical national security and public safety missions, and helped restore integrity to this country’s immigration system,” Wolf said of Albence.
He went on to call the outgoing acting director “a tireless advocate for the more than 21,000 dedicated professionals of ICE and a critical member of the DHS leadership team.”
“Integrity and steadfast commitment”
Noting Albence’s “integrity and steadfast commitment,” Wolf said that he would leave that legacy behind “with the men and women who perform admirably under the most dangerous and complex of circumstances every day.”
As for the timing of his retirement, the Examiner reports that he is expected to immediately begin winding down his duties and “phase out” of the post over the coming month.
Despite the upbeat tone of his announcement, one anonymous Trump administration source expressed apprehension regarding Albence’s departure and the prospect of replacing him. The president has long faced scrutiny for a high level of turnover among his closest advisers.
“There’s concern because we don’t know who’s going to be put in it,” the official told the Examiner. “Matt has been — he’s not only a great guy, he’s been such a defender.”
By almost any account, Albence was an effective leader during his time at the helm of the agency. Americans are now counting on the Trump administration to follow up with another qualified and respected candidate.