Alan Bersin, the head of Customs and Border Protection, on Thursday said he will leave his post at the end of the month after the Senate failed to confirm his appointment.
The announcement, posted on the agency's Web site Thursday afternoon, concedes the Obama administration’s failure to win Bersin a permanent appointment after the president named him Customs commissioner with a recess appointment a year ago. As tasked by Obama, Bersin has steered the 58,000 employees agency toward greater emphasis on facilitating trade, and he has forged closer times with the trade community that has been sceptical of Customs’ motives in years past.
"Through innovative solutions and strengthened partnerships, we have measurably strengthened border security, enhanced our ability to prevent potential terror threats, streamlined the entry process for lawful trade and expanded our trusted traveler programs," Bersin told the Associated Press.
Obama originally named Bersin to head Customs in September 2009, but when the Senate was slow to act, he was one of 15 administration officials named to recess appointments early last year.
When he finally got his confirmation hearing in May 2010, the Senate Finance Committee focused on charges that he and his wife had not filled out immigration forms on domestic employees for 20 years. Bersin said he was unaware the documentation law applied to private residences.
His confirmation never made it to a vote, and his term was set to expire on Dec. 31. Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar will serve as the agency's acting commissioner, said the Department of Homeland Security.