The U.S. Border Patrol Chief, Raul Ortiz, has contradicted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ previous statements about the government’s control of the southern border.
Ortiz stated that the U.S. does not have “operational control” of the border, which goes against Mayorkas’ earlier assertions.
Mayorkas had previously testified before lawmakers that the department had operational control of the border.
However, in recent interviews, he has been more ambiguous and referred to the statutory definition while claiming to be working towards achieving it.
The Republican Party has frequently criticized Mayorkas and the Biden administration for their handling of border security.
During a hearing on the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green asked Ortiz whether the Department of Homeland Security had “operational control” of the entire border, to which Ortiz responded, “No, sir.”
Green then played a clip of Mayorkas maintaining that his department had control and asked Ortiz if he thought Mayorkas was lying.
Ortiz declined to answer the question directly but explained that his new strategy was geared towards mission advantage and not operational control.
The hearing took place in south Texas and was focused on what Republicans described as Mayorkas’ border crisis.
Ortiz highlighted the challenges that his agents face amid an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He stated that in some areas, the agency is facing “a crisis situation.”
Ortiz also discussed the September 2021 surge of Haitians in Del Rio, Texas, which he called “chaotic.”
He noted that over 20,000 people showed up in a short period of time, and agents provided food and aid.
He also expressed pride in the horse patrol, which had come under scrutiny, and accepted responsibility for the actions taken.
Watch the full exchange: