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The Latest: ICE head says he’ll keep working with agency

In this Nov. 9, 2018, photo, acting ICE director Ron Vitiello gestures during an interview in Richmond, Va. The White House has pulled the nomination of longtime border official Vitiello to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That's according to people familiar with the matter who say the notice was sent to members of Congress Thursday, April 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Ron Vitiello (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says in a letter to employees that he will continue to work alongside them even if he will not become the agency’s director.

Ron Vitiello’s nomination to lead the agency was suddenly withdrawn by the White House on Thursday. President Donald Trump says that while Vitiello was a “good man,” the administration wanted to go in a tougher direction. Trump did not explain what that meant and did not say whom he had in mind as a replacement.

Vitiello tells ICE staff he was grateful for the nomination and support from Congressional leaders. He says he was proudest of ICE employees who “work hard each and every day to secure our borders and keep our country and all her citizens safe.”

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4 p.m.

Longtime border official Ron Vitiello appeared to be cruising toward confirmation to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Then came a notice to Congress from the White House that President Donald Trump was withdrawing the nomination. Some at Homeland Security Department thought it was a paperwork error. But it turns out it wasn’t a mistake

The president on Friday confirmed he had pulled the nomination, even as he called Vitiello a “good man.”

Trump said, “We want to go in a tougher direction.”

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