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Top US border official Chris Magnus told to resign or be fired

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The top official tasked with overseeing US border security says he has been asked to resign or be fired.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said he had been asked to step down by the homeland security secretary.

Mr Magnus has refused to do so and has defended his work with the federal agency, reports say.

The number of illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border reached a record high this year, prompting heavy criticism.

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“I felt there was no justification for me to resign when I still cared deeply about the work I was doing,” Mr Magnus told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Mr Magnus, a former police chief, was asked last year by President Joe Biden to run US Customs and Border Protection. He has been commissioner of the federal agency for less than a year.

The agency has been under intense scrutiny by members of the Republican Party after illegal crossings into the US soared.

Migrant detentions at the Mexican Border 2000-2022. .  .

Around 227,500 migrants were stopped at the US-Mexico border in September, up 18.5% from the same time in 2021.

Most arrived from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua – countries that have suffered deteriorating political and economic conditions.

The crossings have become an intensely political issue, with Republican governors sending busses filled with migrants to Democratic states in a bid to increase pressure on the Biden administration to reduce the number of people crossing.

Mr Magnus said he was told that Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, had lost confidence in him and believed he had not done enough to address the high number of illegal crossings.

Republicans have threatened to impeach Mr Mayorkas if they take control of the House of Representatives after the US midterm elections.

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