Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott has his job for sixty days and then he’s out. Just two days before Kamala Harris makes her first visit to the southern border, the Biden administration let Scott know his services in his current position are no longer needed. Chief Scott announced Wednesday that he is resigning.
Scott has been in this position since February 2020, during the Trump administration. To be clear, he is stepping down because he has no choice, he must do so. Of the three choices he has after receiving notice of reassignment, relocate, resign or retire, he chose to resign. Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz is expected to step into the role on an acting basis.
‘I received my 3R letter today,’ Rodney wrote in a Facebook post seen by the Washington Examiner. ‘For those not familiar, that is Federal government slang for the letters issued to SES level employees informing them of directed reassignment.’
‘No rationale or reason is required, nor is it disciplinary,’ Scott continued, adding that the move was made so ‘the new administration can place the person they want in the position.’
He said in the social media post that he will remain in his role for around another 60 days to ensure a smooth transition.
As Scott noted in his Facebook announcement, he has been with the Border Patrol for 29 years. He previously served as chief patrol agent of the San Diego Sector.
His first assignment was at the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego.
He has served in various leadership positions within the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He also served as chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector in California; deputy chief patrol agent in the San Diego Sector; patrol agent in charge at the Brown Field Station in the San Diego Sector; assistant chief in CBP’s Office of Anti-Terrorism in Washington, D.C.; and director/division chief for the Incident Management and Operations Coordination Division at CBP Headquarters.
Scott is a big supporter of the border wall so he must be at odds with the Biden administration. During an interview in October 2020, he said, “Every mile of border wall system allows the agents who are out here every day to cover more area and you’re going to see the same thing here in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. It’s very critical.”
During his return to South Texas last September, Ortiz offered high praise for new border wall barriers, including the controversial private border wall, and said the agency has to stay a step ahead of drug cartels and human traffickers who try to help migrants run from them.
In April, Biden named Tucson, Arizona Police Chief Chris Magnus to be commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
CNN also reported that Benjamine “Carry” Huffman, who’s served at CBP over three decades, will take over the role of acting CBP deputy commissioner, following the retirement of Robert Perez at the end of June.
Kamala is going to El Paso, not the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) where the illegal migration crisis is at historically high levels. El Paso has problems but not anything compared to the RGV. When you see a video of migrants crossing into Texas from Mexico and wading across the river, it isn’t at El Paso. That’s the Rio Grande River. Fox News Channel, by the way, is the only cable news network reporting from the RGV. Its reporters are doing excellent work on a daily basis as the flow of migrants crossing over into Texas continues. Why isn’t Kamala going there to see what is happening? You know why – it shows how feckless the Biden administration’s policies are in dealing with border security and illegal migration. El Paso is on the far west side of Texas. There are barriers there to mitigate illegal migration. Will Kamala bother to acknowledge that El Paso’s wall system is effective?
A Houston Chronicle reporter notes the system used in the El Paso area, in use for decades, as he reported on the stark number of “encounters” being reported. (Encounters is the word used by Border Patrol.)
The Rio Grande Valley in Texas is still seeing the highest number of encounters. Just in May, more than half of all the encounters along entire US border were between Del Rio and Brownsville.
— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) June 23, 2021
Worth remembering there's over 40 miles of border wall/fencing in El Paso started decades ago. There's another 70 miles of fencing sporatically along the 800-mile Texas border.
— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) June 23, 2021
It would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic – the reporter tweets out this information as though it is something newly discovered. He’s in Houston, for heaven’s sake, where’s he been? Yes, encounters are “way up” and it is mostly happening in the Rio Grande Valley sector. Why doesn’t Kamala go to Del Rio, for example, to get a real understanding of what border communities are facing due to the administration’s open-border mentality? She’s been offered a tour of the area by Senator Cornyn, Representative Cuellar (a Democrat), and Rep. Gonzales.
The move to relieve Scott of his duties is being described as an overhaul of leadership. It is looked at as purging a supporter of Trump’s border policies from leadership. This is despite Scott’s professional behavior working well with current Biden administration leadership.
Scott’s departure was widely anticipated, with several of his current and former colleagues surprised he remained in the post long after President Biden’s inauguration. During last year’s presidential campaign, Scott appeared several times alongside Trump, eagerly defending his hard-line policies, leading some colleagues to privately express concern that Scott’s enthusiasm occasionally veered into partisanship.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection took more than 180,000 migrants into custody in May, the highest one-month total in two decades. Scott, along with other senior officials at Border Patrol, has chafed at Biden’s reversal of Trump policies they viewed as effective, according to current and former colleagues who described the private conversations.
Current and former colleagues say Scott provided the Biden administration a steady hand in recent months, despite his frustrations. He maintained a good relationship with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and helped navigate an especially trying period in February and March when the Border Patrol was left caring for unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied teens and children because Health and Human Services didn’t have shelter capacity for them.
Former Border Patrol chief Ronald Vitiello said Scott’s departure is likely to deepen worries among officials as well as rank-and-file agents that the agency is heading into a period of post-Trump limbo and slumping morale.
Scott’s removal is strictly a political decision, not one based on job performance. The blame for the flood of migrants at the southern border is on Joe Biden, not Border Patrol. Mayorkas says he wants to bring cultural change to the Border Patrol. Morale is low and Border Patrol agents are in limbo now as leadership changes during a time of crisis. Biden has nominated Tucson police chief Chris Magnus to lead CBP, which includes Border Patrol. Magnus is supportive of the police reform movement.