US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz is retiring at the end of June after more than three decades with the agency.
“After a 32-year Border Patrol career spanning multiple Sectors, HQ tours, and overseas assignments in Afghanistan, I have decided to retire from federal service on June 30th,” Ortiz wrote in a letter to Border Patrol employees.
“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, who became chief in August 2021, led the agency as it faced a number of challenges in recent years, including the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era public health restriction that had become a key tool officials used to turn back migrants at the US-Mexico border.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas thanked him for his service in a statement Tuesday night.
“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,” Mayorkas said. “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.”
It was not immediately clear who will replace Ortiz.