Most Border Patrol agents in compliance with vaccine mandate

A letter sent Monday to Border Patrol agents informed them most complied with the Nov. 22 vaccine mandate deadline, according to a copy obtained by The Monitor.

Federal agencies were instructed to create a program requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all their employees, with exceptions only as required by law, via President Joe Biden’s executive order issued Sept. 9.

The agency set a deadline for Monday, Nov. 22. On Monday, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul L. Ortiz sent a letter informing agents that by then, 79% of all employees were fully vaccinated, according to the latest data provided as of Nov. 17.

About 16% of employees, who are not fully vaccinated, had submitted a reasonable accommodation request that was pending.

Overall, 5% of Border Patrol agents were out of compliance with the deadline — 3% were not fully vaccinated and had not filed a reasonable accommodation request, the other 2% were unresponsive to the agency.

Employees were advised of their requirement to comply with the mandate through previous efforts that included a letter sent to by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Employees who do not comply with the requirement to become vaccinated will be subject to formal discipline, up to and including removal from federal service,” Randolph D. “Tex” Alles, DHS deputy under secretary for management, wrote in an email addressed to all employees on Nov. 8.

Customs and Border Protection, the agency comprised of Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations, and the White House declined to comment.