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Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske earlier today announced Mark Morgan as the new Chief of the United States Border Patrol. Chief Morgan is a 20-year veteran of the FBI and has held positions in local law enforcement as well. While we are disappointed that Commissioner Kerlikowske chose to break with 92 years of tradition and pass over several highly qualified candidates from within the Border Patrol, we look forward to working with Chief Morgan on the important issues and policies affecting the United States Border Patrol.

We would ask Chief Morgan to remember that the men and women working on the border everyday are the real experts in border security, and that it would behoove him to hear and act upon their concerns and suggestions. This is an agency with a long tradition of service and a commitment to its mission that has few parallels. The Border Patrol has a unique mission that is reflected in its culture and we realize it will be difficult for an outsider to quickly gain the trust and respect of his subordinates. We hope that Chief Morgan will quickly overcome this hurdle and develop a good working relationship with both the senior leadership and the rank and file of the US Border Patrol. It can be done but it will depend upon the deeds of Chief Morgan, not his words.

Chief Morgan has been entrusted with the leadership of a proud organization that has long been under fire both from outside parties and from within Customs and Border Protection. We hope that Chief Morgan will be a strong advocate for Border Patrol agents and champion their safety and their ability to effectively enforce the laws of the United States. Should that situation fail to materialize, the National Border Patrol Council will not pause in its mission to bring the truth about the border to light or as the voice of 16,500 Border Patrol agents.

Finally, we want to thank Deputy Chief Ron Vitiello for his leadership during this interim period. Deputy Chief Vitiello has served as an example of what all law enforcement managers should strive to be: a fair, competent leader who took care of his people while accomplishing the mission.

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