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EXCLUSIVE: Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said under oath that President Biden’s border policies are “of no consequence” for illegal immigrants traveling to the United States and are to blame for the unprecedented surge at the border and the release of hundreds of thousands to the interior of the country.
Fox News Digital first obtained video of Ortiz’s claims, which were produced during a July 28 taped deposition as part of discovery in Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and other border agencies.
Ortiz, who has more than 31 years of law enforcement experience, told attorneys representing Florida that he believes migration will increase at an exponential rate at the southern border because there are no “consequences” to stem the tide of immigrants flooding the border. U.S
“In my experience, we have seen increases when there are no consequences,” Ortiz said during the statement.
“So if the migrant populations think they are leaving…there are going to be no consequences, more will come to the border. Is that what you’re saying?”. the lawyer questioned.
Ortiz responded, “There is an assumption that if migrant populations are told that there is a chance that they could be released, mind you, you can see increases.”
“So it will increase at an exponential rate. Is that what is being suggested here?” the lawyer continued.
“Well, I think it will increase, yes,” Ortiz replied.
Additionally, Attorney Ortiz pressed by asking, “Since President Biden was elected, does this document indicate that aliens who enter the United States illegally perceive that they will be able to enter and remain in the United States?”
“Yes,” he told the attorneys under oath.
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The “document” the plaintiff’s attorney referred to was a spring 2021 memo revealing that Biden’s immigration policies, in part, fueled the surge of immigrants at the border.
The DHS document, which Moody shared exclusively with Fox News Digital in April, listed “Perceptions of Favorable U.S. Immigration Policies” as one of the reasons migrants gave for coming to the border. Other reasons included the search for economic and educational opportunities.
Moody’s lawsuit cites the spring memo along with the Biden administration’s November 2021 “Alternatives to Detention” document, a US Customs and Border Protection memo detailing the implementation of the Biden administration’s program. for migrants crossing the southern border.
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Moody’s lawsuit accuses agencies under Biden of failing to follow established federal law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, which requires officials to detain illegal aliens at the border until they are sent home. of citizenship.
Specifically, the Alternatives to Detention program, which was created by Congress in 2004 and has seen enrollment double under the Biden administration compared to previous administrations, uses various forms of case management and technology to monitor about 5% of illegal immigrants who are in the country. “non-detained record,” meaning that while they are in the country illegally, they are not detained by ICE. Tracking includes GPS tracking via anklets, phone records, and smartphone apps.
However, critics say the program is not particularly effective, as many of the migrants eventually abscond and disappear into the interior of the country.
An earlier review of the Trump-era program by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concluded that it has “little value,” is a “significant expense,” and found that the vast majority of Illegal immigrants signed up for the program for all of their immigration proceedings eventually. flee to the country
Additionally, a joint Border Patrol and ICE memo circulated on July 18 obtained by Fox News Digitally replaced and expanded the original November 2021 memo to include illegal immigrants traveling as part of a family unit or single adults of certain countries that are being released without full processing and then must report within a period of time to an ICE facility.
The memo also notes that the program should be “used sparingly,” only when justified by an “urgent humanitarian reason” or to “address overcrowding.”
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During the deposition, Ortiz went on to testify that the southern border is currently in crisis, answering “yes” when asked if the border is “less secure for both Americans and foreigners.”
Ortiz said he agreed with a statement by plaintiff attorney that “an unprecedented number” of immigrants have entered the US illegally this year. There have been more than 2 million migrant encounters with Border Patrol so far this fiscal year, already surpassing the historic 1.7 million encountered last fiscal year.
Ortiz’s testimony comes after DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during the Aspen Security Forum that while the situation is a “historic challenge,” the border is “secure.”
A US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection generally does not comment on pending litigation.”
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“After the Biden administration denied that they were involved in catch-and-release, and that they were responsible for the historic surge at our southern border, Florida was able to get the chief of the Border Patrol to admit, under oath, the truth,” Moody said. FoxNewsDigital.
“The Biden administration caused the surge, made the border less secure, and is flagrantly violating the very federal laws they were sworn to uphold. The Biden administration is putting hard-working border patrol agents in impossible and untenable positions, risking their lives and safety, and I want to thank Chief Ortiz for proving the truth in his statement,” Moody said.
The suit brought by Florida is scheduled for trial in January 2023 in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Adam Shaw of Fox News contributed to this report.