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Trump withdraws nominee for ICE director

By Danielle Haynes
Trump withdraws nominee for ICE director
Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello's nomination to lead the agency was withdrawn after President Donald Trump said he wants to go in a tougher direction. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

April 5 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Friday withdrew his nomination of Ron Vitiello as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump told reporters outside the White House he wants to go in a "different direction."

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"Ron's a good man. But we're going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction," the president said.

Vitiello has served as acting director of the agency since June, when former Acting Director Thomas Homan retired. Trump nominated Vitiello to permanently lead ICE in August.

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"Deputy Commissioner Vitiello brings to ICE the vision and leadership needed to continue the exceptional work the agency is doing to accomplish its crucial national security and public safety missions," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the time Vitiello took over the post. "I am pleased that ICE will continue to be led by an experienced and well-respected career law enforcement officer who will be a strong advocate for the agency's workforce."

Vitiello, who began his career in Laredo, Texas, has more than 30 years of experience working in law enforcement.

Trump didn't announce who his new nominee is, nor when Vitiello will depart as acting director.

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The president made the announcement as he prepared to depart the White House for a trip to Calexico, Calif., to inspect a 30-foot section of replacement border fence installed last year.

The trip comes after Trump backed off a threat to close the border with Mexico, saying he would give the country one year to stop the flow of illegal drugs and undocumented immigrants or he'd impose new tariffs on Mexican goods.

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