ICE director to retire, marking second major border security retirement in a week
Johnson has served as ICE’s Deputy Director since the start of the Biden administration in January 2021, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the agency and around 20,000 employees
June 6, 2023 7:06am
Updated: June 6, 2023 7:06am
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Tae D. Johnson will retire from his post at the end of June, making him the second border-related official to retire this month, officials announced on Tuesday.
"After more than 30 years of dedicated service to our nation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Direct and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tae D. Johnson will retire from federal law enforcement at the end of the month," an ICE spokesperson said.
Johnson has served as ICE’s Deputy Director since the start of the Biden administration in January 2021, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the agency and around 20,000 employees. During his time in the role, he helped the agency address the record-breaking number of migrants attempting to cross the southern border.
"Throughout his career, he has been an integral part of the mission to investigate, apprehend, and remove criminals and immigration violators from the United States and dismantle terrorist and criminal organizations that exploit our borders and lawful immigration system," the spokesperson added.
Before assuming his role as ICE’s director, Johnson served multiple roles in the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), including the role of Executive Associate Director.
"Mr. Johnson has been an integral member of ICE’s leadership team through multiple administrations,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement.
"I have personally benefited from his frank assessments, solid judgment, and his deep expertise drawn from decades of experience. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Tae for more than 31 years of dedicated service. The Department is grateful for his service and sacrifice, and that of his family who has served alongside him."
Johnson’s announcement comes less than a week after U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said he was retiring on June 30. Ortiz was appointed to the position in 2021, managing almost 20,000 Border Patrol agents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and Title 42 immigration restrictions.
In recent years, Border Patrol agents have faced record numbers of undocumented migrants attempting to cross the border. In Fiscal Year 2022, the agency recorded 2.2 million migrant apprehensions, breaking all previous records.
It is not immediately clear who will replace Johnson and Ortiz.
"Leaders come and go, but ICE’s workforce has always remained steadfast, adaptable, and committed to keeping our homeland secure," Johnson told colleagues in a prepared announcement of his retirement obtained by Axios.