Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said in an agency-wide email to his 20,000 Border Patrol agents that he plans to retire as head of the United States Border Patrol effective June 30.
Ortiz has presided over record-breaking border crossing numbers that started when President Joe Biden took office more than two years ago.
Ortiz came into the position in August 2021, and it ended up being the tail end of his federal career.
“After a 32-year career spanning multiple Sectors, HQ tours, and overseas assignments in Afghanistan, I have decided to retire from Federal Service on June 30," Ortiz wrote. "I have proudly served in the Armed Forces and across this country and enjoyed every opportunity I have had to work for and on behalf of the American people.”
“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 added.
More than five million migrant encounters have been reported since Biden took office, and this year is expected to surpass the previous two.
Title 42 ended last month, which has increased the border crossing attempts even more.
Ortiz was in charge during the single largest migratory event in Border Patrol history, when more than 30,000 Haitian immigrants flooded the border seemingly overnight and camped out in Del Rio, Texas, where Ortiz is from.
Although Ortiz said at the time that the migrants would be sent back to Haiti, it was later discovered that only 2,000 were returned, and 12,000 were allowed to come into the U.S. to pursue asylum.
When the incident with the Haitian immigrants occurred, local Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officials were left to deal with it for two weeks with no help from the federal government.
When Ortiz arrived with DHS Secretary Alexandro Mayorkas, legitimate border crossing sites were closed for a week to process the migrants, leaving legal border crossers no way to cross.
Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, called Chief Raul Ortiz a "true leader" in a statement announcing Ortiz’s retirement.
"He has numerous accolades and awards from his tenure in the Border Patrol, but the highest compliment we can bestow on him is that he is a great agent," Miller said. "I want to congratulate Chief Ortiz on his retirement after more than three decades of service to our country. I look forward to seeing him out on the water, fishing from his boat, as he enters this next and well-deserved chapter.”
There is no replacement set for Ortiz so far.