Ben Bergquam, host of Law and Border, got a short window of opportunity on Wednesday to defend the embattled Border Patrol agents he has interviewed and spent time with along the disastrous Southern Border of the United States – when the Chief of Border Patrol was leaving after giving his dire testimony at a congressional hearing about what his agency faces, Bergquam got a chance to get a question in and the answer he received was shocking.
Bergquam attended the hearing and noted on his social media that Democrats refused to participate, so they didn’t get to hear the Border Patrol Chief decry the job Secretary Mayorkas has done for the men and women of the Border Patrol, who report feeling absolutely abandoned by the Biden administration.
And even though the top Border Patrol leader hinted that Mayorkas was doing a terrible job, the top BP agent still defended the Biden administration official.
Here is how Bergquam described the situation:
“After admitting that Border Patrol does not have “operational control” on the southern border I questioned Border Patrol Chief, Raul Ortiz – “Should Secretary Mayorkas be impeached?” He actually answered the question. Sadly with the wrong answer! Border Patrol deserves better – No confidence in Ortiz!” Bergquam posted.
“After 17 suicides under his watch, Bergquam pointed out- what Ortiz just said is shocking!” Bergquam wrote.
The Houston Chronicle reported on the details of the hearing that the Democrats refused to take seriously:
Ortiz testified Wednesday that illegal border crossings, which topped 2 million for the first time last year, have created a “crisis” that is straining the agency’s resources in some areas.
“The migration flow represents challenges and, in some areas, a crisis situation,” Ortiz said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in Pharr.
But Ortiz would not pin the blame on policy changes under the Biden administration as Republicans on the committee pushed him to do so, pointing to global migration shifts driven by the COVID pandemic and economic strife.
Ortiz said prosecutions along the border are up 35 percent, and he stressed that the surge in migration has strained the agency’s resources.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration calls for more funding for Border Patrol as the GOP seeks wide-ranging government spending cuts.
“We need more officers on the front lines,” Ortiz said.
While Ortiz occasionally frustrated Republicans on the panel, who urged him to be more “candid” in his responses, his testimony nonetheless may have made the trip to the border worth it for the GOP, which is trying to build a case to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Wednesday’s field hearing was the latest part of the impeachment effort, and it was boycotted by Democrats who slammed it as a partisan stunt.
“It has become clear that Republicans planned to politicize this event from the start,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Instead of a fact-finding mission to develop better border security and immigration policies, Republicans are traveling to the border to attack the administration and try to score political points with their extreme rhetoric — despite having voted against the resources border personnel need.”
The White House accused Republicans of seeking to slash funding for border security as they push spending cuts and said the hearing was nothing more than an effort to gin up political fodder against President Joe Biden, even as his plan to handle asylum-seekers led to a 40 percent drop in illegal border crossings in January. The administration Wednesday reported those figures held in February, with 212,266 arrests, compared to 208,511 the month before.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green, the Tennessee Republican who leads the committee, fumed at the Democratic boycott in his opening comments, saying the hearing was meant to “get members of Congress and their staff out of the cubicles back in Washington and down here to the border to see it for ourselves.”
“You cannot read about being a doctor and then go do brain surgery,” Green said. “It takes the leader getting on the ground, seeing what’s going on, to make well-informed decisions.”
Green also pushed back on the notion that “more money will fix this issue.”
“A lack of money didn’t cause this massive, sudden surge,” Green said.
The hearing comes as the Biden administration has shifted its border strategy as it prepares to end a public health order known as Title 42, which was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic and has been used to immediately expel most migrants.
Biden’s plan — which has been panned by immigrant advocates and restrictionists alike — would establish harsher penalties for migrants who cross the border without first scheduling an appointment at a port of entry to make a claim for asylum, and for those who have not already been denied asylum in another country.
The administration says the new plan will encourage migrants to use “lawful, safe and orderly pathways” into the United States and will cut out human smuggling networks that exploit migrants for financial gain. It is an expansion of a scheme the administration has in place for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela that led to a 40 percent drop in border crossings in January, including a 95 percent decline in encounters with migrants from those countries crossing the border illegally.
Oritz’s reaction to the suicides of Border Patrol is painful considering his official Bio, and military background, but it is also proof that he sees his real job as protecting Democrats:
Raul L. Ortiz became the 25th Chief of the United States Border Patrol on August 15, 2021.
He oversees domestic border security operations outside the Ports of Entry along our nation’s borders, which includes more than 5,000 miles with Canada, nearly 2,000 miles with Mexico, hundreds of coastal miles, and our territories in the Caribbean. He proudly leads more than 20,000 Border Patrol Agents and Professional Staff across the country as they perform the homeland security mission.
Chief Ortiz draws over 30 years of law enforcement experience to ensure the more than 20,000 Border Patrol Agents and Professional Staff across the country have the training, resources, equipment, and support they need to carry out the homeland security mission.
Chief Ortiz took his dedication to national security to the global stage in 2009, where he served as Director of the Border Management Task Force, Senior Advisor to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as the DHS Attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan. He returned to the United States in 2012, when he promoted to Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement Operational Programs at Border Patrol Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he served as principal advisor on enforcement operations and administrative requirements to accomplish the Border Patrol’s strategic plan.
Chief Ortiz returned to the field in 2013 as Deputy Chief Patrol Agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector. He returned to Del Rio Sector as the Chief Patrol Agent in 2019, and on March 2, 2020, entered on duty as the Deputy Chief of the United States Border Patrol.
Prior to joining the U.S. Border Patrol, he served in the U.S. Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Baumholder, Germany. He attended the University of Texas in San Antonio and Southwest Texas Junior College, completing studies in political science and criminal justice.
Chief Ortiz attended the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Leadership Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education for Senior Managers in Government. He is a Federal Emergency Management Agency Certified Master Exercise Practitioner.
His awards include two Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State, the Certificate of Achievement from the State of Texas and the Superior Civilian Service Medal – the Department of Defense’s third highest civilian honor.”
At least he showed up. Democrats, as noted above, skipped out:
“At the Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Biden’s Border Disaster in McAllen, TX and the elephant in the room (no pun intended) are the empty seats. Not a single Democrat bothered to show up to learn about the border disaster that they’ve created! American citizens have been abandoned by Democrats! #AbandonedByBiden,” Bergquam, a correspondent for Real America’s Voice, posted along with scathing photos that shows how much Democrats really care about people: