Kevin McAleenan is acting head of Customs and Border Protection. He’s been nominated to head the agency of 60,000 agents and officers. It’s also the agency in charge of ultimately selecting the prototype for President Donald Trump’s promise of a border wall.
Up until Oct. 10, McAleenan was under investigation after a whistleblower accused him of spending $32 million on immigrant detention facilities in Texas without consulting staff or the White House. The Office of Inspector General concluded Oct. 10 that McAleenan had support for the plans all along.
Sen. Orrin Hatch chairs the finance committee.
"Do you know of any reason personal or otherwise that would in any way prevent you from fully and honorably fulfilling the responsibilities of the office to which you’ve been nominated?" Hatch asked.
"No," McAleenan said.
McAleenan said slowing opioid trafficking would be one of his priorities if confirmed.
Sen. Ron Wyden is a ranking member of the committee. He used McAleenan's confirmation hearing to slam the Trump administration's secrecy over its ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks.
"It's my intention to not support moving from the committee any additional trade nominees until federal law is complied with," Wyden said.
Wyden has demanded that the administration give public summaries of its objectives on international trade.