The Biden administration has named Jason Owens as the new Border Patrol Chief, according to an internal email the Daily Caller obtained. The vacancy will come when Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz exits June 30 after announcing his retirement last month amid record illegal immigration.
Owens will leave his current post in Texas as the chief of the Border Patrol’s Del Rio Sector. He will bring his 25 years of experience with the agency to his new position.
"Over the course of his career, Chief Owens has demonstrated consistent dedication to the border security and homeland security missions, and to the men and women who carry out these responsibilities every day," Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy Miller said in the email. "I am confident that he will ably lead the U.S. Border Patrol into its 100th year and beyond."
Also shared with the Daily Caller was a statement from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas giving his blessing to the move. "I am proud to welcome Border Patrol Sector Chief Jason Owens as our 26th Chief of the United States Border Patrol. Chief Owens is a talented, selfless, and inspiring leader who is dedicated to the Border Patrol’s law enforcement mission, the men and women who fulfill it, and the country that we all serve," Mayorkas wrote.
"I have worked with Chief Owens; I am inspired by his commitment to the mission, and am grateful to him for his continued service in this new leadership role," Mayorkas added. News of this change was also applauded by critics of Ortiz.
Fellow Border Patrol agents speaking to the Daily Caller criticized the outgoing chief. "He’s conveniently getting out so he can wipe his hands clean of any wrongdoing or blame," an agent said.
"He’s taken a lot of heat from agents," another agent said. "Maybe he remembered that he has a soul and a conscience."
Ortiz had a difficult tenure as the chief in large part because of President Joe Biden's open borders but also because of the attempt to smear the agents. To his credit, Ortiz backed his team when a fake controversy arose involving agents supposedly whipping migrants, Fox News reported.
In September 2021, photos were released showing agents on horseback who were holding the reins of their horses while pursuing Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas, where a large number of migrants had amassed. A social media narrative stating that the agents were whipping these poor border crossers quickly exploded.
The false narrative was bolstered after Biden repeated it and promised retribution. "To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped — it's outrageous," the president said to reporters while using a whipping motion for dramatic effect.
"I promise you; those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now, and there will be consequences. There will be consequences," Biden said.
An investigation of the incident revealed no wrongdoing, except perhaps some unsafe equestrian maneuvering and "unnecessary use of force," although even that is questionable. Ortiz remained steadfast in his support for his agents through it all.
"I remain proud of the work of our horse patrol units and what we did in Del Rio. As the chief of the Border Patrol, I am ultimately responsible for all operational decisions," Ortiz said last month after the conclusion of the investigation. "To that point and as a senior field commander during that response, I accepted and continue to accept full responsibility for the actions taken."
The mess at the border is about policy failures and not personnel failures. Still, taking on the job of Border Patrol means there will be a great deal of blame and responsibility placed on that official, so it's no wonder Ortiz is leaving.