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05/14/2009

Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE sworn into office today

John T. Morton becomes third Assistant Secretary to head the largest law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees witnessed the swearing-in ceremony of the newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, John T. Morton, at the Potomac Center North headquarters building in the nation's capital.

Raising his right hand, Morton swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies." ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary John Torres officiated at the ceremony. President Obama appointed Morton to his new position, and he was unanimously confirmed Tuesday by the U. S. Senate. He is the third assistant secretary to lead ICE in the agency's six years of existence.

At ICE, Morton will guide a workforce of more than 19,000 in an international mission to enforce U.S. customs and immigration laws, strengthen the nation's immigration systems and conduct investigations related to cross-border and financial crimes. He takes a lead role in coordinating with state and local law enforcement, cracking down on human trafficking activities and preventing the illegal movement of weapons and currency from the United States to Mexico.

Morton comes to ICE with an extensive background in federal law enforcement and immigration law and policy. He began his federal service in 1994 and has held a variety of positions within the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the deputy attorney general.

From 1999 to 2006, he prosecuted criminal cases as an assistant U. S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, first in the Major Crimes Unit and later in the Terrorism and National Security Unit. From 2006 to mid-2009, Morton served in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, first as the acting chief of the Domestic Security Section and then as the acting deputy assistant attorney general.