Nine months in, the Trump administration remains hobbled by an unprecedented number of vacant positions, with nearly 272 key jobs lacking a nominee and some 180 nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. Some of those delays are costlier than others.
Take Kevin McAleenan, who has been acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since the Obama administration ended on Jan. 20. Trump formally nominated him in March to head the CBP, a crucial role in seeing through the administration’s plans to bolster border security, implement a better NAFTA deal and tighten immigration policies.
Six months later, McAleenan’s nomination is only now being heard by the Senate Finance Committee, a delay that has cast a pall of uncertainty over the CBP’s long-term leadership as well as other key positions, such as border patrol chief.