The United States Senate has
confirmed Kevin McAleenan as
Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). McAleenan had been acting commissioner of the
CBP since the beginning of the Trump Administration and previously was deputy
commissioner in the Obama Administration. Prior to holding a leadership position at the CBP, he was with the U.S.
Customs Service and Area Port Director of Los Angeles International Airport,
where he was responsible for border security at airports in the region. McAleenan practiced law in California prior
to his government service.
President Trump announced on 30
March 2017, his intent to nominate McAleenan as CBP Commissioner and sent his
formal nomination to the Senate on 22 May 2017. The full Senate did not act on the nomination prior to the end of the
first session of the 115th Congress. The White House thus had to resend his nomination, as well as dozens of
others, to the Senate on 8 January 2018. On 17 January, the Senate Committee on Finance, to which the nomination
had been referred, reported out favorably the nomination of McAleenan. On 19 March, the full Senate confirmed
McAleenan by a vote of 77 to 19 with all Republicans and a majority of
Democrats supporting his appointment.
As stated on the CBP website, “McAleenan
oversees 60,000 employees, manages a budget of over $13 billion, and ensures
the effective operations of the CBP’s efforts to protect national security
while promoting economic prosperity and security.” The CBP is responsible for the security of
U.S. borders, including the processing of individuals and goods entering the
U.S. The agency also runs programs for
expedited entry into the U.S., including trusted traveler programs such as
Global Entry. Regarding the movement of
goods across the U.S. borders, the CBP also enforces trade laws.
The wide role of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the
protection of U.S. borders has an enormous direct impact on the mobility of the
workforce and on goods moving in and out of the United States. As the head of the CBP, the commissioner has
an extremely important role in overseeing the functions of the agency and its