Incoming Chief of Border Patrol says migrant crisis has “overwhelmed” agency, calls it completely “unsustainable”


DEL RIO, TX – Raul Ortiz, who is slated to become the next Chief of the United States Border Patrol later in August, was recently interviewed by Breitbart News where he delved into the difficulties that the Border Patrol is currently facing with the southern border crisis.

Ortiz is in the midst a tour of some of the busiest agency sectors in the state of Texas, which his first stop was the Del Rio Sector – which he highlighted as being the second busiest sector for migrant traffic in the entire country.

Having served as Del Rio Sector’s Chief Patrol Agent slightly over a year earlier, Ortiz commented on some of the things that have changed in the sector regarding migrant crossings and apprehensions:

“The demographics and the population of folks we are encountering out there on a daily basis are much different than when I was the Chief here, you are seeing folks from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Brazil and on and on.”

Ortiz stated during the interview that the number of migrants being apprehended along the southern border have “overwhelmed” the agency with regard to being able to “house and detain” individuals – even with the addition of impromptu detention facilities that have been erected:

“Fortunately, we’re not seeing as many unaccompanied children here in the Del Rio Sector, but we continue to see an awful lot of singles adults and some family units. It has overwhelmed our capacity to house and detain and process individuals within our facilities. Even after standing up the soft-sided facility, we are still finding ourselves in an overcapacity status.”

When discussing what the agency is currently doing to address and rectify the surge at the southern border, Ortiz stated that the agency has been able to accomplish some expedited removals for those originating from Central American countries, but is also seeking to gain more assistance from Mexico’s government to stop the flow of migrants before they reach the southern border:

“What we’re also doing is working with our government of Mexico partners. One, they have to help stem the flow as it migrates through Mexico, so we’re not being overwhelmed here on the southwest border. But then secondly, I think there are some opportunities to perhaps repatriate some of these individuals on a Title 42 status.”

During the interview, Ortiz was asked what he’s been telling the rank-and-file Border Patrol agents to help them navigate the current crisis at the southern border, which he responded with the following:

“Having done this job for 30-plus years, I can tell I’ve been detailed all over the southwest border, and we’ve seen these increases. For a large part of our population – our Border Patrol agents – that make up our rank-and-file, for some of them, this is their first exposure to a surge in migration.”

“A couple of things I’ve mentioned to them is one ‘we’ll make it out on the other side of this’.

We’ve just got to weather the storm, and that’s what we’re experiencing right now – some really high numbers with respect to apprehensions, to got-aways, to processing, and to migration levels. Two, we have to make sure to take care of each other – we’ve got to be safe out there – not just for ourselves, but for our families and for the migrants that we’re encountering on a daily basis.”

Ortiz also added that he has assured the rank-and-file from the agency that he will “fight for the resources” the agency needs to adhere to their mission:

“Let me fight for the resources, so that way when we make out on the other end, and we get back to our traditional border security mission, we have the right level of technology, the right vehicles, the right number of agents out there patrolling – and perhaps maybe we can ensure that they have access to that border area so it’s not a free-for-all.”

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Earlier in August, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report detailing the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the country and being placed in the country’s interior through sponsor placement. 

Here’s that previous report. 


According to reports, the Department of Health and Human Services released nearly 15,000 unaccompanied minor migrants to sponsors in the United States during the month of July alone.

Reportedly, there are still over an additional 16,000 unaccompanied minor migrants in the custody of the federal government.

Breitbart News recently reported that an average of roughly 500 illegal immigrant minors were released by the HHS to sponsor families in the U.S. each day for the month of July. While these releases were ongoing, there were reportedly an average of 484 unaccompanied minor migrants being apprehended at the southern border daily.

A source within Customs Border Protection informed Breitbart News that there is a sort of gaming of the system going on regarding the handling of unaccompanied minor migrants.

The source informed the outlet that unaccompanied minor migrants will typically be sent to cross the southern border by their parents or other relatives, so that when the children are apprehended, they won’t be expelled since they’re an unaccompanied minor and will instead go into the custody from HHS.

From there, those same relatives reportedly enter the U.S. illegally and then begin the process of reunification. As ludicrous as the gaming theory may sound, current protocols within the agency handing these matters shows that the process mentioned would work.

According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which the HHS tasks with handling unaccompanied minor migrant cases being placed with U.S. sponsors, the ORR notes that “first preference for placement would be with a parent of the child” and that the ORR “does not disqualify potential sponsors based solely on their immigration status”.

Since October of 2020, the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year, 95,079 unaccompanied minor migrants have been apprehended so far. To put that number into perspective, that’s nearly three times the amount apprehended in fiscal year 2020 – which was 33,329.

Many of these unaccompanied minor migrants find themselves being housed at one of the many emergency intake sites that HHS opened over the past few months – with NBC Connecticut having reported back in February that to house one child at a facility per day costs and average of $775.

CNN reported back in April that the overall housing costs at these facilities designed to tackle the influx of unaccompanied minor migrants are costing taxpayers approximately $62 million per week.

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Back in April, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report that expanded on the circumstances of these exorbitant costs for housing illegal immigrant children while going through the HHS process of being handed over to a U.S. sponsor. 

Here’s that previous report. 


WASHINGTON, DC – According to a report from CNN, the Biden administration is spending at least $62 million a week to help house and care for unaccompanied migrant children that are currently in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the beginning of March, the Department of Health and Human Services collectively announced or opened 11 new facilities, with reportedly more to come in the future, as a means to transfer unaccompanied minor migrants out of Border Patrol stations and into facilities more appropriate for children.

Locations such as convention centers and military sites are among these sorts of facilities being retrofitted to address the surge of unaccompanied minor migrants that have crossed into the country.

Reportedly, the daily cost to house these unaccompanied minors winds up costing over twice as much than that of the department’s already formed shelter program, coming in at approximately $775 per day, per minor – as opposed to it traditionally costing around $290 per day.

From what the Department of Health and Human Services says of the inflated expenditures, the increased costs are predominantly due to the agency having to quickly develop these facilities and hire staff in a relatively short period of time.

These temporary facilities that are being erected will reportedly afford an additional 16,000 beds to help accommodate and care for these unaccompanied minors; that figure is in concurrence with the already established 13,721 beds present within the department’s permanent shelter program.

As of April 8th, there were reportedly 8,124 unaccompanied minors settled into these temporary facilities, as well as 8,876 unaccompanied minors occupying beds in the department’s permanent shelter program.

Furthermore, as of April 8th, there were still at least 3,881 unaccompanied minor migrants still in the custody Customs and Border Protection – an agency simply not equipped to properly care for and house children.

Despite these ballooning costs associated with housing unaccompanied minor migrants, White House officials say that there are currently no plans to approach Congress seeking additional funding for this endeavor.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data showed that just in the month of March the agency had encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minor migrants, which served as a record high for the agency.

That March figure was also nearly double the number of unaccompanied minor apprehensions that transpired in February.

While agencies are working their best to address the issues affecting the southern border, the fact of the matter is that unaccompanied minor migrants are being encountered and apprehended daily at a rate that surpasses the number being discharged daily from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former HHS official, commented on the conundrum the agency is experiencing in light of the border crisis:

“The basic problem right now is that each day more children are arriving than are being released to parents and sponsors. There will keep being a need for more capacity, unless either the number of arriving children goes down or HHS is able to more quickly release children.

“The important thing it’s accomplishing is helping to get children out of CBP holding facilities, which are severely crowded, not a good place for children during any circumstances, particularly so during the pandemic.”

The speed in which the Department of Health and Human Services can discharge unaccompanied minor migrants to a guardian is highly contingent upon whether or not the child already has a living relative in the United states or not.

For instances when unaccompanied minors have a parent or guardian in the United states, their average length of stay in HHS custody is about 25 days. However, when it relates to a sponsor with no relation or a “distant relative,” that average length of stay can increase to up to 54 days in HHS custody.


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