A leaked video shows a tense exchange between the head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz, and several of his agents during a visit to the Laredo, Texas, border sector.
The video, obtained by , shows Ortiz talking with agents before the conversation gets heated amid accusations about an unsecured border.
Ortiz confirmed during the meeting 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.”
With Mayorkas in the room, he did acknowledge agents’ frustration as, since President Joe Biden took office and reversed most of former President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies, record numbers of migrants have crossed illegally into the U.S.
“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 noted in response. “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.”
But then the conversation started going off the rails.
“It’s kinda hard to say that when…” one agent began to say.
“It’s not hard to say it,” Ortiz fired back, as the video shows. “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 then said, “you keep releasing criminal aliens into the country.”
The Border Patrol chief shot back: “You’re getting bogged down in the policies and the politics.”
However, several agents then said they’re not even allowed to use the term “illegal aliens.”
“You just said it,” Ortiz replied. “Ain’t nothing gonna happen to you.”
But agents still were not mollified by the answers they were getting, leading Ortiz to ask them, “Why are you guys getting caught up in semantics? … I’ve been doing this job as long as y’all.”
“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.”
Agents also complained that under Biden, a record number of fentanyl overdose deaths were occurring thanks to decreased border security.