US Customs and Border Protection has named a new border patrol chief following the resignation of Mark Morgan last week.

Ronald Vitiello, who was named as the agency chief on Tuesday (31 January), had the backing of the agents' union the National Border Patrol Council, which openly supported Donald Trump's presidential bid.

Vitello will lead the agency at a time of change – given Trump's executive order to build a wall on the US southern border with Mexico and his order to bulk up the number of border patrol agents.

President of the National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd told the Associated Press prior to Trump's inauguration that Morgan did not have the backing of border patrol agents.

"(Vitiello) and I do not see eye to eye on a great, great many things, but we were always able to keep it respectful, always," Judd said. "Morgan and I have not been able to do that."

Morgan said following his resignation that he had been asked to leave and had chosen to resign his post rather than fight to stay in position, AP reported.

Vitiello's appointment was also praised by Ronald Colburn, who was deputy chief prior to Vitiello. He said the border patrol worker with 30 years service under his belt is well positioned to take the role.

"He's a bootstraps leader, raised the rough the ranks, tested by fire. If I were picking among 20,000 employees, he's the first one I would think of," Colburn said.