On Friday (June 9), the Biden administration named U.S. Border Patrol veteran Jason Owens to head the agency, replacing outgoing chief Raul Ortiz.
In a statement announcing Owens’ promotion, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas described Owens as a “talented, selfless, and inspiring leader” committed to the country, the law enforcement mission of the Border Patrol, and the men and women who carry out that mission.
Mayorkas explained that he was “inspired” by Owens’ “commitment to the mission” and was “grateful” for Owens’ continued service in this new leadership position.
The New York Times reported that Owens has worked for the Border Patrol agency for more than twenty years, most recently as a branch manager in Del Rio, Texas.
Oritz revealed his departure to staff in a memo that had been obtained by The Associated Press; at the time, Ortiz said he would be departing on June 30.
Ortiz led the Border Patrol and its approximately 20,000 agents through the COVID-19 pandemic and Title 42 emergency health restrictions that began in March 2020 that ended on May 11.
Title 42 gave agents the authority to quickly return migrants across the southern border.
He also oversaw the introduction of new policies on May 11 aimed at preventing migrants from crossing the border illegally while opening other legal routes.
The number of crossings along the Southern Border has dropped, and the border hasn’t seen the high number of crossings or chaos that even President Joe Biden expected when the Title 42 restrictions ended.