Union-backed Ronald Vitiello named to lead Border Patrol

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2016 file photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent drives near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Sunland Park, N.M. A new Cronkite News-Univision News-Dallas Morning News Border Poll released Monday, July 18, 2016, says a majority of residents surveyed on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are against the building of a wall between the two countries. The poll also suggests residents feel Democrats and Republicans are ignoring their concerns and aren't proposing solutions to help their economy and combat drug trafficking and human smuggling. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) – A longtime Border Patrol official who is backed by the agents’ union has been named chief of the agency, less than a week after his predecessor resigned under pressure.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday on Twitter than Ronald Vitiello has been appointed to lead the agency at a time when President Donald Trump has pledged to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and add 5,000 agents from the current level of about 20,000.

The National Border Patrol Council – an early and outspoken backer of Donald Trump’s presidential bid – openly supported Vitiello for the job and pushed for the ouster of his predecessor, Mark Morgan, who resigned last week at the request of the new administration.

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