Ex-Border Patrol Chief Says He 'Never Had One Conversation' With Biden

Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border (Wikimedia Commons)
March 4, 2024

A former chief of the United States Border Patrol said Sunday that he "never had one conversation" with President Joe Biden while serving in the position.

"I've never had one conversation with the president or the vice president, for that matter," said Raul Ortiz, who became head of the agency in August 2021 and retired in June 2023, in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes. "And so, I was the chief of the Border Patrol. I commanded 21,000 people. That's a problem."

Ortiz added that the White House has "most definitely" sent mixed messages to migrants.

"We need to make sure that Central America, South America, Mexico—that those regions understand that, if you pay a smuggler, and you cross in between the ports of entry, and you do not have a legitimate claim to some sort of asylum benefit, you're gonna be sent back," he said.

Ortiz in his interview also accused Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) of playing politics on the issue of immigration in a reference to his decision to occupy a highly trafficked section of the border in January.

The former border patrol chief's comments come after a Monmouth University poll from last month indicated that a majority of Americans supported building a wall along the southern border—the first time the measure had so much support in the institution's polling. Additionally, 84 percent of respondents said the issue of immigration was somewhat or very serious.