Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz is applauded at the State of the Union address on Feb. 4, 2020, at the U.S. Capitol. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

Raul Ortiz Named Chief of U.S. Border Patrol

Raul Ortiz, a Border Patrol veteran of more than 29 years beginning as an agent in the San Diego Sector, has been promoted from deputy chief to the 25th chief of the U.S. Border Patrol after his predecessor said he was given the choice to be reassigned or resign.

“Chief Ortiz’s passion for his work, colleagues, and agents is infectious,” Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement today. “I am confident he will lead with ‘Honor First,’ securing our borders and enforcing the laws of this nation with humanity.”

Former CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan described Ortiz as an “agent’s agent” who epitomizes the core values of the agency upon Ortiz’s promotion to deputy chief in January 2020.

Ortiz replaces Rodney Scott, who was named Border Patrol chief by Morgan in January 2020 after Carla Provost, the first woman to lead the agency, stepped down. Scott began his career with the Border Patrol in 1992 at the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego. He also served as chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector, deputy chief patrol agent at San Diego Sector, patrol agent in charge at the Brown Field Station in San Diego Sector, assistant chief in CBP’s Office of Anti-Terrorism in Washington, and director/division chief for the Incident Management and Operations Coordination Division at CBP headquarters.

Scott posted on his personal Facebook page that he had received a letter telling him he had “3 options- relocate, resign, or retire.”

“No rationale or reason is required, nor is it disciplinary,” he wrote. “Just a simple needs of the service directed reassignment so the new administration can place the person they want in the position.”

Scott said he would remain in his position for “about 60 days” to ensure a smooth transition. The Associated Press reported that Scott told colleagues on a budget call that he was given 60 days to decide on the reassignment or retirement.

“I personally thank Rodney S. Scott for his 29 years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol and for his seventeen months of service as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol,” Miller said. “He has dedicated his career to public service, and I am grateful for the depth of experience and knowledge he has brought to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Ortiz was honored at the February 2020 State of the Union address as a guest of former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

“Last year, I traveled to Texas and met Raul Ortiz. Over the last 24 months, his team has seized more than 200,000 pounds of narcotics, arrested more than 3,000 human smugglers and arrested more than 2,000 migrants,” Trump said before asking Ortiz to stand and be recognized by lawmakers.

Ortiz’s career has spanned over 29 years since entering duty as a member of Academy Class 247. From 2000 to 2005, he served as assistant patrol agent in charge and patrol agent in charge of the Comstock Station, and as patrol agent in charge of the Del Rio Station. In 2005, he was promoted to assistant chief patrol agent in Del Rio Sector.

From 2009 to 2010, Ortiz served as director of the Border Management Task Force in Kabul, Afghanistan, and served as the senior advisor to the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Department of Homeland Security. In 2011, he was promoted to DHS Attaché in Kabul and held that position until moving to Washington to serve as deputy chief of operations at Border Patrol headquarters.

Ortiz was appointed deputy chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector in 2013. In 2019, he became chief patrol agent of the Del Rio Sector.

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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