U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has testified that his agency does not have “operational control” over the nation’s borders after months of a record surge in migration.
When Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) asked Ortiz during a congressional hearing if the Department of Homeland Security has “operational control of our entire border,” Ortiz replied, “No, sir.”
The admission came Wednesday during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting and contradicted a recent statement by Ortiz’s superior, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas said during a hearing in April that “we do” have operational control over the entire U.S. border.
In both instances, Ortiz and Mayorkas were shown the U.S. government’s technical definition of “operational control,” which “means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States.”
Green asked Ortiz whether Mayorkas was “lying” when he claimed to have operational control over the border.
Ortiz responded that operational control was used “as a measuring stick of our effectiveness along the southwest border” about 10 years ago, but “my new strategy is geared toward mission advantage.”
When Mayorkas was presented with the definition of operational control in April, he maintained his position and claimed his predecessor in former President Donald Trump’s administration would have agreed.
The diverging answers from the nation’s top border officials comes amid record migration across the southern border, with Customs and Border Protection reporting migrant encounters there at rates not seen in 20 years, as reported by Pew Research Center.
Pressed by Green to answer for the border situation, Ortiz stood by the work of border agents and said they are facing significant challenges.
“I have confidence in the men and women that are executing the mission out there to the best of their ability,” Ortiz said. “We have seen an increase in flow, and that has caused a considerable strain on our resources.”
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.