Saturday, April 20, 2024

Border Patrol Chief Retires After End of Title 42

Chief Rauk Ortiz, head of the U.S. Border Patrol, is retiring after seeing through to the end of Title 42 restrictions.

“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 said.

Ortiz managed the Border Patrol and roughly 20,000 agents through the Covid-19 pandemic and Title 52 restrictions that allowed agents to return migrants over the southern border. He also oversaw the rollout of new policies meant to discourage migrants from crossing without documents while opening other legal pathways. He took over as chief in August 2021 and was described as a career official who slowly climbed the ranks over his 30-year career.

On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Ortiz as a great leader who was deeply committed to the well-being of his agents.

“Selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made,” Mayorkas expressed. “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.”

The Border Patrol has been under a constant spotlight for years as the number of border crossings reached record highs. Its job is to manage migrants, including families and children, who cross the border without documents, taking many into custody.

But the Border Patrol has faced criticism in the past. During the Biden Administration, agents were found to have engaged in “unnecessary use of force” against migrants. Two weeks ago, an 8-year-old Panamanian girl died in their custody on her family’s ninth day in custody.

ABC News