Ex-Border Patrol leader’s Senate bid tests potency of immigration message for GOP

Ronald Vitiello spent many hours testifying before Congress as leader of the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Now the Virginia Republican Senate hopeful is aiming to be the one asking questions of witnesses — and writing laws.

Vitiello is a longtime Virginia resident, living there much of the time since taking a promotion to Border Patrol headquarters in Washington early in the George W. Bush administration and moving his family to the area. Vitiello, now 60, joined the Border Patrol in 1985 in Laredo, Texas, and rose through the ranks to positions responsible not only for U.S.-Mexico border security but also on the northern front. One of Vitiello’s roles was chief patrol agent for the Swanton Sector, along the U.S.-Canada border in upstate New York, Vermont, and parts of New Hampshire.

Vitiello by now has put in more years than
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