Acting ICE Director John Sandweg Resigns Less Than 6 Months After Appointment: Report

John Sandweg, with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks during a news conference on counterfeit merchandise at th
John Sandweg, with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks during a news conference on counterfeit merchandise at the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII media center, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo)

Less than a year in the position of acting head of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, has decided to simply walk away without providing a clear explanation, Fox News reports.

Sandweg, whose appointment in August was first scrutinized due to his brief law enforcement experience, informed coworkers of his resignation last Friday, February 14. He let them know he would be returning to work in the private sector but made no mention of the reason for his departure.

“Over the past several months I had the opportunity to work alongside many of you,” Sandweg stated in his resignation letter, according to Fox News. “I was always amazed by your dedication to the agency and our nation. Despite the challenges we face, you continue to push on, achieving remarkable security and public safety gains for our country.”

Sandweg’s expertise was built in the courtroom, as a former criminal defense attorney, and served as the primary reason why former ICE officials and congressional lawmakers doubted his qualifications to head one of the United States biggest law enforcement agencies.

Congressman John Carter from Texas was one of the first to lash out against Sandweg’s appointment. Back in August he wasn’t shy to let his opinion be known saying “I am deeply disappointed by this appointment and believe it is disrespectful to the thousands of dedicated professionals at ICE who are working tirelessly to enforce our laws and provide for our security.”

As a chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee his point-of-view weighed heavily on the administration, although they did not reconsider Sandweg’s appointment Carter spoke his mind once again. ”I urge the administration to re-think this appointment and promptly appoint a qualified, confirmable applicant for this essential post.”

Sandweg’s controversial appointment

According to, other lawmakers shared Carter’s perspective on Sandweg’s appointment and pointed at his history representing accused and convicted violent offenders while simultaneously helping raise funds for Janet Napolitano, from 2002 through 2009.

Napolitano, was Arizona’s governor at the time and later took a position as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.

Some went as far as calling Sandweg’s appointment “blatant politicization” by ICE’s administation. His critics also claim Sandweg took an active stance in the obstruction of Freedom of Information Act requests which outlined spending by the DHS from the 2009 stimulus package.

A 2011 report readied for the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., delineates paperwork reflecting that Sandweg – top political appointee in Napolitano’s inner circle and senior adviser – was in charge of “halting releases on behalf of the [Office of the General Counsel] and the Office of the Secretary.”

What’s next for the Department of Homeland Security?

Now, all pressures lie on Jeh Johnson, the newly confirmed secretary of Homeland Security, to choose Sandweg’s replacement adequately. Sources told FoxNews on Sunday that they hope he will pick a leader for ICE who has an established record of law enforcement experience and has paid their dues within the agency.

Johnson sent an email to ICE employees on Friday confirming Sandweg’s departure and thanking him for his service to the administration.



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