Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matt Albence announced Friday that he is stepping down from the law enforcement agency after just over a year in the role.
“After more than 25 years as a federal law enforcement officer, I am announcing my retirement from federal service,” Albence said in a statement. “This was an exceptionally hard decision to make, a decision prolonged due to the uncertainty of a global pandemic and the essential role ICE continues to play in our nation’s response.”
The Washington Examiner first reported Albence’s retirement, which comes after more than 25 years in law enforcement. Before taking over as acting head, he had served as deputy director and also worked in ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Under Albence, the agency had launched a crackdown on sanctuary cities, accompanied by a campaign to draw awareness to policies that allowed arrested illegal immigrants to be released back into cities rather than deported.
“It’s time to publicly call out those who have put politics over public safety, those who make our communities less secure, who create safe havens in which criminal aliens and gangs are allowed to flourish and can victimize innocent people with impunity,” he said in a White House briefing last year, surrounded by sheriffs and other law enforcement officials as they draw attention to the crimes of those who had been released.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday praised Albence for leading 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.”
“I personally want to thank him for his integrity and steadfast commitment – a legacy he will leave behind with the men and women who perform admirably under the most dangerous and complex of circumstances every day,” he said.
Albence said in his statement he intended to work over the next month will leadership to ensure a smooth transition to the agency.