U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz will retire on June 30, reports the Associated Press. Ortiz oversaw a policy shift that attempts to limit illegal U.S.-Mexico border crossings after the end of the Title 42 COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Ortiz led the Border Patrol during the pandemic and Title 42 emergency health restrictions which allowed agents to move migrants over the southern border. “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 told his staff.
Ortiz became chief in August 2021. He climbed the ranks over his 30-year career and stayed away from more charged issues like the border wall. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Ortiz as a great leader who was deeply committed to his agents' well-being. “Selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made,” he said, adding that Ortiz postponed his retirement several times. The Border Patrol under Ortiz has faced criticism. During the Biden administration, some agents were found to have engaged in “unnecessary use of force” against non-threatening Haitian migrants. Two weeks ago, an 8-year-old Panamanian girl died in their custody on her family’s ninth day in custody; the most time allowed is 72 hours under agency policy.