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Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) top legal adviser Tony Pham will be the agency's next top official, after current acting director Matthew Albence retires, according to an email sent to Department of Homeland Security employees Tuesday.

Between the lines: Pham and his family came to the U.S. as Vietnamese refugees in 1975 and became citizens 10 years later, according to his bio on DHS' website.

  • "As Tony has been a trailblazer in the field of law and corrections, I am confident he will successfully lead the men and women of ICE in their mission to keep our borders safe and protect Americans," DHS acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli wrote in the email.
  • Albence announced his retirement at the end of last month.

The big picture: The announcement of ICE's new leadership comes the same day that President Trump announced he would nominate acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to lead the agency permanently.

  • DHS has struggled with permanent leadership under Trump, and its agencies have been through several shake-ups.
  • ICE is tasked with immigration enforcement inside the U.S., rather than at the borders, and oversees the country's immigration detention centers.
  • It has become one of the most controversial government agencies, with some immigration activists and progressives calling for ICE to be "abolished" altogether.

What they're saying: "As a seasoned leader with DHS Tony will ensure ICE continues to safeguard our country’s borders from crime and illegal immigration," an ICE spokesperson said.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

America's cities are facing an immigration deficit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's cities are facing a historic shortage of two vital resources: money and immigrants.

Why it matters: Cities drive American economic growth, and immigrants drive cities. The coronavirus pandemic has effectively stanched the main source of talent that municipal economies have long relied upon.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

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