New Border Patrol chief visits Laredo

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Amid a COVID and migrant crisis, the gateway city got a visit from the next United States Border Patrol chief.

To get a better understanding of the current situation, he sat down with local leaders and organizations that help migrants.

“What we’re experiencing right now is not seasonal. It is something that has continuously gone up for the last five or six months, and we certainly have to come up with some policies to address the flow we’re experiencing right now.”

Current U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz made a stop in the Laredo sector to meet with the city and county along with non-governmental organizations to talk about the migrant influx in the area.

“We had a great conversation about what we’re experiencing along the southwest border and things we can do to help improve the conditions both within the border patrol facilities as well as within these communities.”

The chief told KGNS that some of those improvements include strengthening communications with local entities, especially when they release migrants from their custody.

“Ensuring full transparency on what we’re experiencing right now and what we can potentially experience over the coming weeks and months.”

Being that migrants are only getting tested for the coronavirus once they arrive at the NGO’s, KGNS asked Chief Ortiz directly if he would implement a testing policy once he takes over as Border Patrol chief.

His response explained that with the amount of apprehensions they see a day, testing would put more stress on the agency.

“It is difficult to add one more piece to that process, but we are working closely with the non-governmental organizations so we can ensure that there is testing somewhere in the processing continuum, and so as we try to expand our ability to test, vaccinate, and potentially get to a point where we have very thorough medical screening, I think those probably have to nest with some of the other organizations out there so we’re working to help build that capacity wherever possible.”

Deputy Chief Ortiz will be taking over as the U.S. Border Patrol Chief on August 14th.

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