Former Border Patrol chief says Biden never spoke to him while in office

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The former head of the US Border Patrol told 60 Minutes that President Biden never spoke to him during his two years in office. Neither does Vice President Kamala Harris, named the administration’s “border czar” by President Biden in May 2021.

Raul Ortiz served as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol under President Biden and deputy chief under former President Trump before retiring in May 2023.

Raul Ortiz

Raul Ortiz, then chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, listens during a news conference, January 5, 2023, in Washington (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Ortiz lambasted politicians — Republicans and Democrats — who engage in media operations on a “two-mile stretch,” neglecting hundreds of miles of open borders.

But he expressed particular frustration with the president, saying that during his two years in office, “I've never had a single conversation with the president or the vice president.”

“I was chief of the Border Patrol, I commanded 21,000 troops. This is a problem,” he said.


Ortiz said the United States needs to send a clearer message to Central and South America that they will be returned if they do not have a legitimate asylum claim.

Asked if he thought the White House had sent mixed messages to migrants, he said, “most certainly.”

Ortiz presided over Border Patrol during some of the highest-profile incidents, including 15,000 Haitian migrants under the Del Rio Bridge, agents falsely accused of flogging, the end of Title 42 expulsions and record illegal crossings.

Ortiz testified under oath in March 2023 during a House field hearing in McAllen, Texas, that the border was not secure. He retired two months later.


His interview comes after Biden and Trump dueled at the southern border, underscoring how central the border is to the 2024 presidential election.


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