President Biden named a brand new Border Patrol chief on Friday as U.S. immigration insurance policies have come below renewed scrutiny following the top of Title 42, a pandemic-era restriction that allowed the authorities to expel most migrants for greater than three years.
Jason Owens, who has served within the Border Patrol for greater than 20 years, was most not too long ago the chief of the Del Rio division in Texas, which handles one of many busiest areas for unlawful crossings. He succeeds Raul Ortiz, who is about to retire on the finish of the month after serving 32 years within the Border Patrol.
Mr. Owens takes over at a time when unlawful crossings have decreased. Though the numbers have gone down within the weeks since Title 42 was lifted in Might, officers anticipate the variety of crossings to rise once more this summer time, as a result of they’re conscious of hundreds of migrants who are actually making their means by way of South and Central America with plans to go to the US.
Because the chief of the Del Rio division, Mr. Owens centered a lot of his time on getting ready for and responding to those sorts of influxes. He additionally must cope with authorized challenges to new Biden administration border insurance policies, that are designed to discourage folks from crossing into the US illegally.
The Biden administration has mentioned the court docket challenges might undermine its efforts to take care of border crossings. There have been file ranges of unlawful migration on the southern border through the Biden administration, at instances overwhelming sources and drawing Republican assaults that the president is weak on border safety.
In a press release on Friday, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Safety secretary, described Mr. Owens as “proficient” and “selfless.”
“I’m impressed by his dedication to the mission, and am grateful to him for his continued service on this new management position,” Mr. Mayorkas mentioned.
The Border Patrol is a 99-year-old company charged with securing the nation’s borders with Canada and Mexico. Democrats have lengthy pushed for extra transparency on the Border Patrol and its mother or father company, Customs and Border Safety.
The Border Patrol union, which represents largely pro-Republican rank-and-file brokers, is a powerful supporter of former President Donald J. Trump and has assailed the Biden administration for ending a few of Mr. Trump’s border insurance policies.
Mr. Owens’s tenure in Del Rio started after a spike in migration there in 2021, when largely Haitian migrants who crossed into the US illegally overwhelmed the sources on the border. The response, which included brokers on horses, was broadly criticized after photos of what seemed to be an agent utilizing his lariat as a whip went viral.
An internal investigation discovered that Border Patrol brokers used “pointless” drive however discovered no proof to corroborate allegations from migrants and others that brokers used horse reins to whip migrants.
Nonetheless, the incident, when 15,000 migrants crossed over the interval of some days, has remained a low level for Mr. Biden’s time in workplace. It was additionally a reminder of the criticism the Border Patrol has weathered over time for its remedy of migrants.