A Vietnamese refugee is taking over Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the agency’s new acting director.
Director in an “acting capacity”: Tony Pham, who was previously ICE’s leading prosecutor, has been tapped by the Trump administration to replace career official Matt Albence, reports the Washington Examiner.
- Pham’s appointment, officials confirmed Tuesday, comes as ICE facilities face backlash for their handling of COVID-19 in immigration detention centers as well as a reduction in the number of immigrants allowed into the country, BuzzFeed reported.
- “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.
- Pham will reportedly be leading the agency “in an acting capacity” by becoming the latest “senior official performing the duties of the director.”
- In assuming his new office, he will vacate his previous post as ICE’s principal legal advisor.
- Pham will have a bigger responsibility for running ICE, which oversees the largest immigration detention system in the world.
Seasoned leader: In 1975, Pham and his family came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam. Pham’s family became U.S. citizens 10 years later.
- According to an email he sent to ICE attorneys at the start of his career with the agency, he pointed out his family followed the “lawful path to citizenship.”
- Pham earlier worked as a prosecutor for eight years before serving as an attorney for local government offices in Richmond, Virginia.
- He was eventually assigned to oversee the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.
- As superintendent, Pham said he tried to make reforms in the facility.
- “I owe a debt for my freedoms and opportunities which must be repaid. I do so by committing to my community as a dutiful citizen and to pass along my experiences and opportunities to serve those around me,” Pham wrote in his bio.
Feature Image via ICE