A top Biden border official has reportedly fallen asleep during meetings to discuss the immigration crisis, while skipping others with the White House and holds an overall "disengaged" attitude to the job.   

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus demonstrates that he is "unengaged in his job" and "often doesn’t attend White House meetings on the situation on the border, badmouths other agencies to colleagues and superiors, and has not built relationships within CBP and across other agencies to address the influx of migrants at the border," Politico reported on Tuesday, relaying the experiences of five unnamed current Biden administration officials who work with Magnus. 

They lamented that Magnus is focused on addressing CBP’s culture, including allegations of racism and violence, instead of prioritizing solutions on the record number of migrants crossing the border. 

Two of the administration officials told Politico that Magnus has shifted blamed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), bringing his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, pages of grievances about the agency responsible for arresting and detaining undocumented people within U.S. borders. 


Chris Magnus grilled by Congress

Chris Magnus appears before a Senate Committee on Finance hearing to consider his nomination to be Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on October 19, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

Magnus, a 61-year-old former police chief with over 40 years of law enforcement experience, visited the border earlier this year and afterward requested an emergency meeting with Mayorkas and other senior DHS officials to relay complaints about ICE that he gathered from Border Patrol’s rank-and-file, one of the five administration officials told Politico. CBP officials have complained that ICE isn’t moving migrants out of short-term border holding facilities into their longer-term custody fast enough. 

"He’s not in the game," another administration official told Politico of Magnus. "Every time there’s a meeting and he’s in it, we’ll get to a conclusion and Magnus will have some sidebar issue that he wants to raise and we’re all like ‘What the f*** is that about?’"

Six internal critics of Magnus said "they had seen Magnus fall asleep during multiple meetings, including one earlier this year on how to handle the current swell of Venezuelans crossing the border," according to Politico's report. 

Magnus, narrowly approved by the Senate in December, told Politico that "he experienced brief periods of tiredness as a side effect of his multiple sclerosis, the neurological condition he was diagnosed with 15 years ago; and that he adjusted medication levels to deal with those side effects." But he otherwise defended his attitude toward the role.

border patrol agents

An illegal migrant smuggled in a vehicle is apprehended by US Border Patrol and the Webb County Sheriff's Office on October 12, 2022, in Laredo, Texas.  (ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement obtained by Fox News Digital, Magnus responded to the allegations and defended his approach. 

"I care a great deal about CBP and the people who work here. In the 10 months I’ve been CBP’s Commissioner, I’ve gotten up to speed on the agency’s many complex areas of responsibility," Magnus said. "While CBP is an operational — not a policy-making — agency, I’ve been closely involved in the major DHS immigration, border security, trade, and other policy discussions throughout my time as Commissioner. I frequently share insights from CBP’s frontline law enforcement and civilian personnel in those discussions and will continue to do so."

The statement continued, "I’ve always been someone who aggressively questions the status quo, looks for ways to do things better, and engages directly with the public and workforce. In any organization, some people are threatened by this.  They don’t like it when someone questions ‘why’ certain things must be done the way they’ve always been done. I’m not here to back down to the predictable challenges from those people, but instead to make real improvements within our agency that will benefit our employees and the public."

mayorkas at podium

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas answers a reporter's question during a news conference with Mexican counterparts at the State Department on October 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.  ((Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images))

"Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis," Magnus added. "Since then, I have served in a series of demanding law enforcement leadership positions that have required long hours and intense focus. Ironically, the most common complaint I’ve received from colleagues is about my tendency to ask too many questions in meetings and my desire to know what some believe is more than necessary on various topics. Like many with M.S., my symptoms, such as brief periods of tiredness, must be managed with different medications that sometimes require adjustment. I’ve worked with my doctor to make those adjustments and intend to remain fully engaged in the work of leading CBP and advocating on behalf of those who work here as well as for the American public."


"On border security, CBP is a critical component of the DHS-led $60 million anti-human smuggler campaign that has already led to 5,000 arrests with our partners, and we’re mobilizing additional personnel to support the Border Patrol," a CBP spokesperson said in a statement to Politico, adding to Magnus’ defense. "Commissioner Magnus plays a key role in all of this, and that’s where our focus remains."