Acting ICE Director stepping down after Trump pulls nom. for permanent position

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Ron Vitiello will leave his leadership post at the end of the week, according to a letter sent to ICE employees Wednesday.

Acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Ron Vitiello. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

His announcement comes after his nomination to lead the agency in a permanent position was suddenly pulled by the White House last Thursday.

“I am writing to let you know that Friday, April 12, 2019, will be my last day as Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I would also like to express my deep thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to serve with our incredible workforce,” he wrote to employees in the letter, which was obtained by CNN.

Vitiello, who appeared to be on the cusp of Senate confirmation, was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the agency in August. He previously served as chief of the US Border Patrol and acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

Last Friday, President Donald Trump said he wanted to go in a “tougher direction” — a move that came at the urging of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.

“We’re going in a little different direction. Ron’s a good man but we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction,” Trump told reporters Friday at the White House.

The surprise withdrawal of his nomination set off a week of uncertainty and major leadership change at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.

By Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation, and on Wednesday acting DHS Deputy Secretary Claire Grady announced her resignation as well.

At least two other DHS officials were also been named as possibly heading out the door.

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