Report: US Border Patrol chief stepping down by month’s end

January 14, 2020

One of the top immigration law enforcement officials in the Trump administration, Carla Provost, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, is set to step down from her position by the end of January, Daily Caller reported.

Provost is actually one of the longest-serving officials in the administration, as she was tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as acting chief of the Border Patrol agency in April of 2017 and later received the nod to serve on a permanent basis in that capacity.

It is unclear exactly why or when Provost will leave the administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declined to respond to a request for comment. However, several unnamed sources within CBP and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed off the record to Daily Caller that Provost would soon be stepping aside.

Again, though nothing has been officially confirmed, the word is that her replacement as the head of Border Patrol will be acting Deputy Chief Rodney Scott, a 27-year border enforcement veteran who was selected as chief patrol agent for the San Diego sector in late 2017 and was more recently promoted to his current deputy chief role.

Diversity concerns arise

The news of Provost’s impending departure initially came by way of reporting from The Washington Examiner and, as usual, there is a bit of controversy circulating beneath the surface in this reported changing of the guard.

There was reportedly some internal debate among CBP officials about the importance of race as a factor in choosing Provost’s successor and whether there were “too many white faces” in leadership roles and what sort of public perception that might generate for an agency that often arrests and detains non-white individuals.

Scott, who is white, had reportedly been handpicked as Provost’s successor back in the summer, but some have suggested that naming someone to that position who is of Hispanic origin could be viewed as a gesture of goodwill toward outside critics of the agency who have demanded more racial diversity in the leadership.

Controversies persist

Another potential controversy surrounding the expected promotion of Scott to replace Provost is the fact that he was a member of a Facebook group for immigration enforcement agents in which some members had posted derogatory messages about the migrants they took into custody as well as about elected Democrats in Washington, D.C.

The discovery of that Facebook group, predictably, caused quite a stir among congressional Democrats, some of whom demanded last summer that Provost — who was also a member —  be forced to resign. Scott, who insisted that he never posted anything controversial in the group, dismissed the controversy and remained a member even as several other top officials had removed themselves from the group.

Meanwhile, an entirely separate controversy has impacted a top official who was expected to be named as Scott’s successor as deputy chief, Gloria Chavez, who is currently the interim chief for the El Paso sector in Texas.

The potential problem for Chavez is that she is married to a former top Border Patrol official named Gustavo Zamora who had been charged in an Arizona court in 2019 with felony counts of kidnapping and sexual assault involving a female Border Patrol agent. He had been allowed to quietly retire instead of facing internal discipline, and there is concern about what the public perception might be if Chavez is promoted due to her close connection to Zamora, particularly if is ultimately convicted.

All of that said, it is worth noting that all of these controversies are all perception-related, and nobody has come forward yet — either publicly or anonymously — to question the leadership capabilities or individual merits of any of these named officials.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.