OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:05 PM – Wednesday, May 31, 2023
As tensions continue to escalate over the influx of migrants following the expiration of Title 42, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has announced his retirement this week.
In a letter to coworkers on Tuesday, Ortiz said that his last day will officially be June 30th. He has held his position for less than two years, and during that time, he managed around 20,000 Border Patrol personnel.
“I leave at ease, knowing we have a tremendous uniformed and professional workforce, strong relationships with our union partners, and outstanding leaders who will continue to tirelessly advocate for you each day,” Ortiz wrote.
Ortiz handled emergency Title 42 health limitations and COVID-19 period policy changes during his brief time in charge of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s law enforcement division.
Following the termination of Title 42 earlier this month, he also played a key role in the implementation of Title 8, a set of limitations designed to reduce the flow of immigrants at the southern border while creating new legal avenues for immigration.
Ortiz came under criticism just before the new rules went into effect after a leaked directive showed that he had told border agents to release large groups of migrants without giving them court dates or any way to find out where they were in the nation.
The U.S.-Mexico border, however, remained relatively tranquil in the early days of Title 8, and interactions between migrants and agents lessened as many prospective asylum seekers assessed their choices.
Ortiz’s retirement comes amid continuous debate regarding American cities’ capacity to receive the influx of newcomers who manage to cross the border, as well as the risky methods some desperate asylum seekers are employing to enter the country in the first place.
Drug cartels are reportedly offering to transport migrants to the border for around $200 each, but if they cannot afford the money then they also risk being forced into the drug trade or even having their fingers amputated.
A distressing video of a smuggler dropping a 4-year-old boy off of a 30-foot border wall in San Diego has recently surfaced.
On Twitter, Ortiz had criticized the video and urged others not to “trust smugglers.”
In August 2021, Ortiz was placed in his role as the new Border Patrol Chief. His predecessor, Rodney Scott, was a fervent supporter of Trump administration policies, notably the debate over the construction of a border wall between Mexico.
The U.S. Border Patrol had received harsh criticism from the public for displacing migrant families while Scott was in charge. Even though Ortiz’s tenure was less contentious, the agent’s reported inappropriate use of force against non-threatened asylum seekers drew condemnation from some.
The agency admittedly did not have “operational control” over the whole border, as Ortiz was forced to confess to this in a hearing before a congressional committee in March. About a year earlier, he also claimed in a leaked video that agent morale was at an “all-time low.”
However, Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, hailed Ortiz on Tuesday for being a strong leader.
“Selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made,” Mayorkas wrote. “Chief Ortiz agreed to postpone his retirement several times since and the Border Patrol, the Department, and our country have been all the better for it.”
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