Chief of Border Patrol Raul Ortiz set to retire

 May 31, 2023

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz will resign from his position atop the 19,000-person law enforcement organization in the coming weeks, after nearly two years at the helm, according to The Washington Examiner.

Ortiz, a 32-year agent, reportedly informed several dozen regional chiefs, deputy chiefs, and headquarters officials during a phone call early Tuesday afternoon that he would retire at the end of June.

The call was verified by a second source, and Ortiz made the announcement and Ortiz confirmed via email to staff that he had decided to retire on at the end of June.

Oritz's Start in DHS

In June 2021, Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appointed Ortiz to succeed then-Chief Rodney Scott in the agency that falls under the DHS's preview. In August 2021, Ortiz was promoted to the position from his position as deputy superintendent.

Ortiz made headlines in February 2020 when the Trump White House invited him to attend the president's annual address.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security characterized the move as an effort by the Trump administration to highlight a nonwhite agency representative, given that Scott, the previous director, was white.

The selection was intended to assist then-President Donald Trump in arguing that his border and immigration policies, including his efforts to restrict unauthorized immigration, were not racially motivated.

DHS Secretary's Praise for Oritz

Mayorkas issued a statement late Tuesday night in which he referred to Ortiz as a "greater leader" for exemplifying "vigilance, service to country, and integrity."

“I knew when I became Secretary that Chief of the Border Patrol would be one of the most critical positions to fill. At the time, Chief Ortiz was planning to retire; convincing him to remain in service and selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made," Mayorkas said.

"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."

Mayorkas commended Ortiz for addressing significant challenges that the organization's 19,000 employees have faced as more individuals than ever before have crossed the southern border since President Joe Biden assumed office.

"He managed the critical transition out of the Covid pandemic and into the enforcement of our traditional immigration authorities under Title 8 of the United States Code.

"He championed our effort to increase the number of case processors in order to get our Agents and Officers back into the field," Mayorkas said.

"His commitment to the wellbeing of the workforce and to championing their priorities are among the clearest examples of his unsurpassed devotion to duty; he is the model of a law enforcement leader."

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