Pham previously served as ICE's principal legal adviser

Vietnamese refugee Tony Pham has been appointed to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Pham, who had served as s ICE’s principal legal adviser, will succeed Matt Albence to lead the agency.

“As a seasoned leader with DHS Tony will ensure ICE continues to safeguard our country’s borders from crime and illegal immigration,” ICE said in a statement.

His role will be the senior official who performs the duties of the director.

Albence, who led the agency since last year, announced his retirement in July.

“This was an exceptionally hard decision to make, a decision prolonged due to the uncertainty of a global pandemic and the essential role ICE continues to play in our nation’s response,” Albence said in a statement at the time.

Pham and his family moved to the US in 1975 as refugees and became American citizens ten years later.

Prior to working for ICE, Pham served as superintendent of the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail and as a special assistant US attorney.

Pham is “very much aligned with the current administration,” a senior Homeland Security official said.

“Albence will certainly be missed. It was always good to have someone that was able to offer a viewpoint that wasn’t always well received but was always accurate and consistent and took care of law enforcement personnel,” added the official.