One of President Donald Trump’s guests at the State of the Union tonight is Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz. Ortiz has served with border management not just in Texas but also in Afghanistan. Here’s what you need to know about Raul Ortiz.
1. He Was Just Named Deputy Chief in January
Ortiz was named Chief Patrol Agent of the Del Rio Sector in 2019, after having been named Deputy Chief Patrol Agent in 2013. That made him responsible for Border Patrol operations in 41 Texas counties, including 210 border miles between the U.S. and Mexico. In January 2020, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of U.S. Border Patrol. This means he is second in command of more than 20,000 agents.
CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said in a statement: “Ortiz is an ‘agent’s agent’ and epitomizes the core values of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Border Patrol’s motto, ‘Honor First.”
2. Ortiz Served in the Army Before Joining the Border Patrol
He’s had a long history serving the country. He was an assistant patrol agent and the patrol agent in charge of the Comstock Station from 2000-2005, Go San Angelo reported. Raul Ortiz served in the United States Army before he joined the U.S. Border Patrol in 1991.
3. He Spent a Number of Years Working on Border Management in Afghanistan
Ortiz was the Director of the Border Management Task Force in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, HS Today reported. In 2010, he was the senior advisor to the Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Department of Homeland Security. He was promoted to the Senior Executive Service position in Kabul in 2011.
When the announcement that Ruiz will be a SOTU special guest was shared, he wrote on Twitter, “I am extremely proud and honored to have the opportunity to represent the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol tonight at the State of the Union.”
4. In 2018, There Was a Spike in Drownings at the Border & He Tried to Bring in More People to Help with Search and Rescue
This isn’t the first time that Ortiz has been in the news. In 2018, there were reports of bodies being found in the Rio Grande with a spike of deaths in October, Statesman reported. The deaths were from immigrants who were trying to cross the border in remote parts of the state in order to avoid being detected. The Border Patrol was expanding its search and rescue operations to try to monitor the area more closely.
At the time, Ortiz told the Statesman about their efforts: “The canals and areas of the river they are trying to traverse, they typically weren’t trying to go across before.”
In six months in 2018 there were 16 drownings, just shy of a surge of drownings in 2013. Border Patrol transferred more people including an elite rescue unit to try to help with swift-water rescues.
5. He Graduated from High School in Del Rio
Ortiz graduated from Del Rio High School in Del Rio, Texas. So he’s a native of the Del Rio sector that he now oversees.
When he was named to his new position in 2020, Ortiz told KENS5: “As Chief of Del Rio Sector and incoming Deputy Chief of the United States Border Patrol, I am honored to represent the men and women of the United States Border Patrol. Having spent 29 years wearing a Border Patrol Uniform, the last 6 years on the Southwest Border, I have gained an operator’s perspective. look forward to telling our story and sharing the amazing work occurring each and every day to keep this country safe.”