Acting chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announces retirement

Matthew Albence, acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced his retirement on Friday.

“After more than 25 years as a federal law enforcement officer, I am announcing my retirement from federal service,” Albence said in a statement.

The senior law enforcement official called it “an exceptionally hard decision to make,” which “prolonged due to the uncertainty of a global pandemic and the essential role ICE continues to play in our nation’s response.”

Albence began serving as acting ICE chief in April 2019.

It’s not yet clear who will succeed him.

Derek Benner, executive associate director for the ICE homeland security investigations division, is the next highest ranking official.

Part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the ICE carries out immigration enforcement and other activities, with a workforce of more than 20,000 officers, special agents, attorneys, and mission support professionals assigned to more than 400 domestic and international offices.

The federal law enforcement agency has come under increased scrutiny due to hardline immigration policies implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration.