Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz retires after 32 years of service

During a Homeland Security Committee hearing in March, he asserted that the federal government did not have operational control of the border.

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz informed his colleagues Tuesday that he has decided to retire. In March, Ortiz, who heads a force of 20,000 law enforcement agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was the unwitting protagonist of a news story that swept the country. During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), asked: "Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?" "No sir," Ortiz replied. Ortiz's retirement will take effect June 30, and it is not yet known who his replacement will be.

"One of the greatest honors and privileges"

In the memo informing his colleagues of his decision, he assured that it had been "one of the greatest honors and privileges" to serve as head of the Border Patrol, a position he has held since August 2021. "I leave peacefully knowing that we have a tremendous uniformed and professional workforce, strong relationships with our union partners and outstanding leaders who will continue to advocate for you tirelessly every day," Ortiz, who led the Border Patrol through COVID-19 and the emergency health restrictions of Title 42.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy Miller called Ortiz a "true leader" in a statement announcing the patrol chief's retirement. "He has numerous accolades and awards from his tenure with 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 on his boat, as he enters this next well-deserved chapter." Raul Ortiz has been a member of the Border Patrol for 32 years.