Rank-and-file Border Patrol agents welcomed the news that agency Chief Raul Ortiz is retiring, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that his exit was long overdue.
Ortiz announced Tuesday that he will retire from the federal government, effective June 30, according to an internal email first obtained by the DCNF. Border agents believe Ortiz is leaving because of record illegal immigration that has occurred under his watch, as well as his unpopularity among the force and disagreements with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. (RELATED: Biden Admin Sanctions Fentanyl Crisis ‘Enablers’ In China, Mexico)
“He’s conveniently getting out so he can wipe his hands clean of any wrongdoing or blame,” one agent told the DCNF.
Between October 2022 and April 2023, agents have recorded more than 1.2 million illegal migrant encounters at the southern border. Agents also apprehended 196 individuals whose names appear on the terror watchlist between October 2021 and April 2023.
“I assume he’s had enough of doing Mayorkas’ dirty work and knowing the whole patrol thinks he’s a joke, I’d do the same. Even though he’s only doing what he’s told,” the second agent told the DCNF.
Ortiz also took criticism from agents who aired their frustrations about low morale, according to footage leaked in January 2022 of the heated exchange. That is something that may have also led to Ortiz’s retirement, a third agent told the DCNF.
“He’s taken a lot of heat from agents. Maybe he remembered that he has a soul and a conscience,” the third agent said.
A fourth agent pointed to Ortiz’s previous testimony before Congress, where he said DHS lacked “operational control” of the U.S.-Mexico border. Ortiz made the statement in contradiction with Mayorkas’ claim that his agency has “operational control.”
“I suspected the powers that be wouldn’t appreciate his honesty quite as much as I did. I figured his days would be numbered after that…but then again, he has been in a long time. Might be all his own decision too. Good for him either way,” the fourth agent told the DCNF in a text message.
“My guess is that he’s managed to become so unpopular with the agents that he can’t be brought in front of them without a confrontation. It’s impossible to lead an agency when the rank and file openly despise you,” a fifth agent told the DCNF.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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