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Saturday, July 20, 2024

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz to Retire at End of June

“I knew when I became Secretary that Chief of the Border Patrol would be one of the most critical positions to fill. At the time, Chief Ortiz was planning to retire; convincing him to remain in service and selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made," said Mayorkas.

After more than three decades with U.S. Border Patrol, beginning as an agent in the San Diego Sector, Chief Raul Ortiz will retire at the end of June.

Ortiz was promoted from deputy chief to the 25th chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in June 2021 and has steered the agency through policy changes, the coronavirus pandemic and increased border pressures.

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 Department of Homeland Security 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.

“Chief Ortiz has been a great leader of the men and women of the United States Border Patrol for the past two years, and at every level of the organization throughout his three decades of service,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “He embodies the core values of vigilance, service to country, and integrity, as well as the Border Patrol’s motto: honor first. His steady leadership and operational expertise have greatly benefited the agency, the Department, and the nation — and will continue to influence the Border Patrol well into the future.  

“I knew when I became Secretary that Chief of the Border Patrol would be one of the most critical positions to fill. At the time, Chief Ortiz was planning to retire; convincing him to remain in service and selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made. 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. 

“Chief Ortiz tackled some of the biggest challenges the Border Patrol has had to face. He managed the critical transition out of the COVID pandemic and into the enforcement of our traditional immigration authorities under Title 8 of the United States Code. He championed our effort to increase the number of case processors in order to get our Agents and Officers back into the field. His commitment to the wellbeing of the workforce and to championing their priorities are among the clearest examples of his unsurpassed devotion to duty; he is the model of a law enforcement leader. 

“The Border Patrol is stronger, and our nation is more secure, thanks to his leadership. I will miss his candor, our thought partnership, and our friendship. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to him for more than 32 years of dedicated service to the United States Border Patrol. We are forever grateful for his service and sacrifice, and that of his family who have served right alongside him.” 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller called Ortiz a “true leader” and said he had benefitted greatly from his partnership, expertise, wise counsel, and friendship over the years.

“Every single day, he champions the men and women of the Border Patrol and has worked tirelessly to ensure that they have the tools, resources, and support they need to do their jobs,” Miller said. “He has numerous accolades and awards from his tenure in the Border Patrol, but the highest compliment we can bestow on him is that he is a great agent. 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 from his boat, as he enters this next and well-deserved chapter.”

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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