On December 7, 2021, the Senate confirmed Tucson, Arizona police chief Chris Magnus as the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner with a vote of 50-47 in favor of Magnus. Magnus is CBP’s first Senate-confirmed leader since 2019 – with his predecessor Mark Morgan serving until January 2021 and Troy Miller currently serving as acting commissioner. As commissioner, Magnus will oversee the 60,000-person agency and all of its work related to trade, border security, and travel. Previously, he served as Tucson’s police chief and also has experience working for police departments in Michigan, North Dakota, and California.

Forced labor continues to an issue of particular interest for both the Senate and Magnus. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated on October 19, 2021 in the hearing on the nomination of Chris Magnus that the use of forced labor in China and elsewhere is “{o}ne such issue that’s posing a serious danger to our country’s values and American jobs.” Similarly, in that same hearing, Magnus also addressed forced labor and transparency as a top issue, committing CBP to providing “public summary data describing the number of allegations received, open investigations, suspended or inactive investigations, and other relevant information on a regular basis,” per the Government Accountability Office’s recommendation.

Another major topic of concern for Magnus is the current global supply chain blockage. In his October hearing, Magnus stated that he would aim to “ensure that {CBP} has the appropriate staffing at ports, and that CBP is working closely with port authorities, carriers, brokers, labor groups, and other key partners in the trade community to meet the increasing cargo screening and clearance demands” in order to tackle the supply chain crisis. In addition, he also stressed that he would prioritize the continued modernization of technology resources, including the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system used by CBP and others in the trade sphere.

The on the record questions and answers for the hearing on the nomination of Chris Magnus from October 19 is available here.

For more information on CBP and actions addressing human rights and forced labor abuses, contact our team and see previous posts below.

House passes bill barring imports of goods produced in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China | International Trade Law (cmtradelaw.com)

CBP Issues Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders on Malaysian Gloves and Mexican Tomatoes | International Trade Law (cmtradelaw.com)