John Morton was unanimously confirmed as the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the U.S. Senate on May 12, 2009. ICE is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government. Created in 2003, the agency has a budget of $5.7 billion dollars and more than 20,000 employees in offices in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries. The agency’s primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.
Prior to his appointment by the President, Mr. Morton spent 15 years at the Department of Justice. At the Department, Mr. Morton served in several positions including Assistant United States Attorney, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division.
During his tenure at ICE, Mr. Morton has strengthened ICE’s investigative efforts, with a particular emphasis on border crimes, export controls, intellectual property enforcement and child exploitation. Mr. Morton has also sought to prioritize ICE’s immigration enforcement efforts around the removal of criminal offenders, recent border violators, and those who ignore orders of removal or obtain immigration status by fraud.