Republican lawmakers took full advantage of a rare chance to question the head of the Border Patrol during his first appearance before a House committee and pushed the chief repeatedly to come down hard on his superiors for understating the state of the border.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz walked a line between undermining Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who has stated the border is secure, and admitting the situation his 19,600 agents nationwide have faced over the past two years had been the most difficult time in the organization's 99-year history.
Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) opened the field hearing in South Texas with a video that showed Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) asking Mayorkas in a previous hearing if the border was "secure." Mayorkas had stated it was.
"You heard the secretary. He said we have operational control. That's the definition of operational control," Green said and pointed to a poster board behind him that stated the legal definition of "operational control."