Headline RoundupMarch 17th, 2023

Border Patrol Chief Says US Doesn't Have 'Operational Control' of Southern Border

AllSides Summary

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told lawmakers Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security no longer has operational control of the southern border, and requested more resources as an influx of migrants continues.

The Details: In a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Ortiz described "tremendous strain on Border Patrol resources" and requested more funds to hire employees who process migrants into the country. He also indicated support for reviving the "Remain in Mexico" policy and other stricter immigration rules.

Key Quotes: "Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?" Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) asked Ortiz. "No, sir," Ortiz responded. "Now, unlike in previous surges, we are seeing traffic including large groups, spread across multiple locations, instead of just one or two specific sectors," Ortiz continued.

For Context: After asking Ortiz about operational control, Green then played a clip of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas from 2022 contradicting Ortiz and saying the U.S. did have control of the border. The U.S. has had record-high levels of migration over the last year, though the number of encounters at the southern border fell by over 100,000 from December to February as the U.S. looks to expel more unauthorized migrants.

How the Media Covered It: Sources across the spectrum covered the hearing. Right-rated sources tended to focus more on Ortiz's comments than left- and center-rated sources did. Some suggested the hearing foreshadowed a reckoning for the Biden administration's immigration policies.

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