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ICE Leadership


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Ronald D. Vitiello is the Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On August 6, 2018, President Donald J. Trump nominated him to serve as the next ICE Director. His nomination is currently pending in the U.S. Senate.

As ICE’s senior leader, Mr. Vitiello oversees a workforce of more than 20,000 officers, special agents, attorneys, and mission support professionals with a budget of over $7 billion. During his time as Deputy Director, Mr. Vitiello has made it a top priority to meet with front line personnel in the field and ensure that employees are heard and supported. He has actively engaged with interagency partners and community stakeholders to promote the importance of ICE’s homeland security and public safety missions.

Prior to joining ICE, Mr. Vitiello served for more than 30 years with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Border Patrol – most recently as CBP’s Acting Deputy Commissioner. In that role, he assisted the Commissioner overseeing 60,000 employees, managing a budget of over $13 billion, and ensuring the effective operations of CBP’s efforts to protect national security while promoting economic prosperity and security.

Mr. Vitiello began his career in Laredo, Texas, entering on duty with the Border Patrol in 1985, a member of Class 174. Throughout his career, he has held numerous leadership positions, including Chief Patrol Agent positions in Swanton, Vermont, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He was named Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in February 2017 and was selected to serve as CBP’s Acting Deputy Commissioner later that same year.

Mr. Vitiello was one of the key contributors to the unification of CBP and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Vitiello is married with two children and a native of Chicago, Illinois.

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Matthew T. Albence is the Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Senior Official Performing the Duties of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director.

Mr. Albence executes oversight of ICE's day-to-day operations, leading approximately 20,000 employees including over 6,000 officers in ERO and over 6,000 criminal investigators in the Office of Homeland Security Investigations. Mr. Albence manages operational and mission support personnel assigned to more than 400 domestic and international offices and oversees an annual budget of almost $6 billion.

Since 2017, Mr. Albence led ERO as EAD in its mission to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts. He was appointed EAD in February 2017. In this role, Mr. Albence led an organization of more than 7,600 employees assigned to 24 ERO field offices and 22 overseas locations.

Previously, Mr. Albence served as the Assistant Director for the ERO Enforcement Division where he was responsible for all ERO enforcement programs and initiatives.

Mr. Albence has over 24 years of federal law enforcement experience. In 1994, he began his career in San Antonio as a Special Agent with the former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS). In 1999, he was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent, San Antonio. Mr. Albence’s supervisory experience also includes positions Deputy Assistant District Director for Investigations, Chicago; Associate Special Agent in Charge, Chicago; Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Detroit; Unit Chief for the ICE Office of Investigations Training Academy, Glynco; TSA Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the South Central Regional Field Office and Deputy Assistant Director for the ERO Criminal Alien Division.

Mr. Albence received a B.S. in Justice and a M.S. in Administration of Justice. He is a member of the Senior Executive Service. 


Thomas Blank is the Chief of Staff (COS) for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the principal investigative agency of the Department of Homeland Security.  

In his capacity as COS, Mr. Blank serves as a strategic advisor, providing guidance and counsel on the full range of the agency’s programs, advising the Acting Director and coordinating policy implementation with senior leadership throughout ICE to guide the agency toward reaching its homeland security and public safety objectives.

Working closely with the Acting Director, Mr. Blank initiates, develops, and maintains contact with other Departmental and federal, state, and local agency officials with an emphasis on ICE’s law enforcement partners.

Mr. Blank’s private sector and public service career spans 35 years, successfully leading change as a senior executive in three large federal agencies, serving the Department of Transportation and the State Department as well as the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Blank was a founding leader of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), helping build the agency from the ground up in response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Most recently, Mr. Blank provided private sector consulting services in business development primarily for the security technology industry.

A recipient of both the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 9/11 Service Medal and the TSA Honor Award, Mr. Blank is a graduate of Wake Forest University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Speech Communications.


Derek N. Benner is the Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Prior to this assignment, Mr. Benner served as the Deputy Executive Associate Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), an organization of more than 9,000 employees, which includes more than 6,000 special agents who are assigned to 26 Special Agent in Charge offices in major cities, 185 other field offices throughout the United States, and 62 overseas locations in 46 countries. HSI’s investigative and enforcement initiatives and operations target cross-border criminal organizations that exploit America's legitimate travel, trade, financial and immigration systems for their illicit purposes.

Prior to this position, Mr. Benner served as the Assistant Director of Domestic Operations with oversight of HSI’s 26 domestic field offices. Mr. Benner also served as special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Diego, California. In this position, he oversaw one of the largest ICE investigative offices in the nation, which includes a diverse cadre of federal agents, intelligence analysts, and professional administrative staff at HSI offices throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. He also oversaw a number of HSI-led multiagency tasks forces, which include state, local and federal law enforcement members working together to target cross-border criminal organizations that exploit the legitimate travel, commercial trade and financial systems in the California/Mexico border region.

Prior to this assignment, Mr. Benner served in several key leadership positions at ICE headquarters. As the deputy assistant director of HSI’s Financial, Narcotics and Special Operations Division in Washington, D.C., he was responsible for the agencies national financial fraud and narcotics smuggling programs. He also served as chief of staff to the director of ICE HSI and provided management oversight at the national level.

Benner began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Customs Service in 1991 as a co-op student. He worked at the San Ysidro Port of Entry as a customs inspector for two years before becoming a marine enforcement officer and a special agent with the U.S. Customs Service’s Office of Investigations in San Diego. In 2002, Benner was promoted to the management ranks where he supervised agents assigned to the local maritime smuggling task force and managed the asset forfeiture, intelligence and administration programs as an assistant special agent in charge in San Diego.

Mr. Benner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from George Mason University.


Nathalie R. Asher is the Acting Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Washington, D.C.


Ms. Staci A. Barrera is the Executive Associate Director (EAD) for Management and Administration (M&A) for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). M&A oversees ICE's budget, expenditures, accounting and finance, procurement, human resources and personnel, workforce recruitment, equal employment opportunity, information technology systems, facilities, property and equipment needs. In addition, Management and Administration identifies and tracks the agency's performance measurements.

Prior to this assignment, Ms. Barrera – a member of the Senior Executive Service – served as Assistant Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Mission Support, where she has acted as the primary advisor to the HSI EAD on all administrative and management matters since January 2008. In that capacity, she was also responsible for a budget of more than $2 billion (from multiple sources) and approximately 150 employees.

In addition to Ms. Barrera’s HSI responsibilities, she also accepted two detail assignments: Acting Deputy EAD for M&A (July 2017 to October 2017) and Acting Human Capital Officer (October 2014 to September 2015). In both those detail assignments, Ms. Barrera demonstrated strong leadership, sound judgement, and expertise in overseeing a myriad of administrative programs supporting an ICE workforce of nearly 20,000 employees around the world.

Ms. Barrera has more than 26 years of government service. Prior to joining ICE in 2008, Ms. Barrera held a number of key leadership positions in the federal government. She served in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, first as Associate Director and then as the Deputy Director, overseeing OCDETF’s national efforts, including budget, strategic planning and performance activities, the Attorney General’s Consolidated Priority Organization Target list, the State and Local Overtime program, and the Strike Force program. Ms. Barrera was also responsible for spearheading OCDETF’s efforts to create the OCDETF Fusion Center (OFC), a multi-agency, intelligence center focused on supporting drug and money laundering investigations.

Ms. Barrera holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University.


Waldemar Rodriguez is the Associate Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and is responsible for overseeing OPR’s efforts to ensure ICE’s organizational integrity through a multi-layered approach of security operations, inspections and detention oversight, and investigations. OPR is responsible for impartially investigating allegations of serious employee and contractor misconduct, as well as other wrongdoing impacting ICE personnel and operations. OPR also provides senior executive leadership with independent reviews of ICE programs and operations, to ensure compliance with applicable policies, procedures, and detention standards. Additionally, OPR is responsible for ICE’s personnel, physical, and administrative security programs which protect ICE personnel, facilities, classified information and security systems, against both internal and external threats.

Prior to his assignment with OPR, Mr. Rodriguez was the Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas and held various key leadership positions at ICE Headquarters in Washington, D.C., including Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) for Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Transnational Crime and Public Safety Division, DAD for HSI Domestic Operations, Acting DAD for the HSI Workforce Management Division, and Unit Chief for the HSI Workforce Management Staffing Solutions Unit.

Mr. Rodriguez’ HSI field assignments include service as a Group Supervisor in the SAC San Juan office, and as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in Laredo, Texas.

Mr. Rodriguez began his law enforcement career in 1991 as a police officer with the Puerto Rico Police Department, where he served as a criminal investigator in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau and task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1997, Mr. Rodriguez entered federal service as a Special Agent with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2001, he transferred to the former U.S. Customs Service as a Special Agent.

Mr. Rodriguez was promoted into the Senior Executive Service in August 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the University of Turabo and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Puerto Rico.


Tracy Short serves as the Principal Legal Advisor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In this capacity, Mr. Short oversees the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, the largest legal program within the Department of Homeland Security, comprised of more than 1,100 attorneys and 300 support professionals throughout the United States.  The Office of the Principal Legal Advisor is charged with litigating administrative immigration proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and its attorneys provide a wide array of specialized legal services to ICE clients in support of ICE’s homeland security and public safety missions.

Mr. Short began his federal law enforcement career in Dallas, Texas in 2001, as a trial attorney with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, Mr. Short became an Assistant Chief Counsel in the ICE Dallas Office of Chief Counsel. In 2005, he was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, where he managed complex civil litigation involving ICE. In 2007, Mr. Short was selected as a Senior Attorney. In that role, he was assigned to litigate significant and complex immigration cases, and he served as the lead attorney for matters involving customs law and criminal investigations. Also in 2007, he served as the Acting Deputy Chief Counsel in Dallas and was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas to prosecute criminal cases. From 2009 to 2015, Mr. Short served as the Deputy Chief Counsel in the ICE Atlanta Office of Chief Counsel.  Most recently, Mr. Short served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. 

Prior to his service with the former INS and ICE, Mr. Short was a judicial law clerk for a U.S. district judge and for a justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Louisiana Department of Justice and as a state public defender. Mr. Short received his law degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center and his undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar and federal district bars in Louisiana and Texas.