CBP commissioner to step down

Thursday - 12/22/2011, 3:32pm EST

By Jolie Lee
@jleewfed
Federal News Radio

Alan Bersin announced his intention to resign as the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 30.

President Barack Obama appointed Bersin on March 27, 2010, during a recess appointment. The Senate adjourned this week without voting to confirm Bersin's nomination.

"I am immensely proud of the significant and meaningful achievements we have made on our borders and at our nation's ports of entry over nearly two years," Bersin said in a statement. "Through innovative solutions and strengthened partnerships, we have measurably strengthened border security, enhanced our ability to prevent potential terror threats, streamlined the entry process for lawful trade, and expanded our trusted traveler programs."

Obama initially nominated Bersin to head the agency in September 2009 and, in a recess appointment, appointed him commissioner in March 2010, after the Senate didn't act on the nomination. Bersin was one of 15 officials to receive a recess appointment that year.

Previously, Bersin served as assistant secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security, according to the CBP website.

The lack of a vote to confirm the appointment led Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to decry the "broken nomination process."

"I urge the President to move quickly to identify his successor in order to ensure that CBP has the leadership it needs to keep our nation's borders secure," he said in a statement.

"Commissioner Bersin has a long and distinguished career as a public servant, and his strong and effective leadership of CBP during a challenging time certainly adds to his record of public service," Lieberman added.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Bersin served as Obama's border czar, a post the administration created to focus on issues related to illegal immigration and relations with Mexico in its war against drug cartels, before being elevated to head of CBP. He also previously helped coordinate law enforcement efforts at the Mexican border during the Clinton administration while he was working at the Justice Department.

As reported earlier this week, the public printer, Bill Boarman, must also step down as head of the Government Printing Office because the Senate did not confirm his appointment.

(The Associated Press and Federal News Radio's Jack Moore contributed to this story)