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U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz got into a tense back and forth with agents in Laredo, Texas, Friday, as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas paid a visit.
In video shared with Fox News by a Border Patrol source, Ortiz confirmed that “morale is at an all-time low.”
“I do think that we’re losing too many agents,” Ortiz said. “As an organization, we gotta start taking care of each other.”
Ortiz acknowledged agents’ frustration, with Mayorkas in the room.
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“I get it,” Ortiz said. “You come to work, you’re frustrated. You’re upset because you didn’t get the desired outcome that you want. Doesn’t mean you give up.”
“We’re not,” one agent responded.
“I know you’re not,” Ortiz replied. “That’s why I’m saying, we don’t give up. We stay focused, we continue to do the job and the mission that we signed up for. We all signed up for it, we all raised our hand.”
That’s when things got more heated.
“It’s kinda hard to say that when…” one agent began to say.
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“It’s not hard to say it,” Ortiz shot back. “It may be hard for you to say it, I’ve been doing this for 31 years. It’s not hard for me to say it.”
Other agents chimed in that “you keep releasing criminal aliens into the country.”
“You’re getting bogged down in the policies and the politics,” Ortiz stressed.
Multiple agents then said agents can’t use the term “illegal aliens.”
“You just said it,” Ortiz replied. “Ain’t nothing gonna happen to you.”
With the agents seemingly still not satisfied with the answers they were getting, Ortiz asked them, “Why are you guys getting caught up in semantics? … I’ve been doing this job as long as y’all.”
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“That’s the problem, chief,” one agent interjected. “For evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That’s exactly what’s happening here. Good men are doing nothing. You’re allowing illegal aliens to be dropped off in communities.”
Ortiz insisted that agents are doing good work by rescuing people and taking fentanyl and methamphetamine off the streets.
“And under this administration, in the last year, we’ve got the highest fentanyl deaths in the history of our country,” one person in the room shot back.
Ortiz said the U.S. has caught more fentanyl coming across the border this year than last year, but one agent wondered how much is not being caught.
“I don’t know,” Ortiz said. “We’re working on it.”
“And that’s the problem,” the agent said.
Someone in the room then cracked a joke, defusing the tension.