Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez
Robert E. Perez has served as the Deputy Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since July 2018. In this role, he is the agency’s senior career official, working closely with the Commissioner to lead the nation’s largest law enforcement agency of more than 60,000 employees and manage a budget of nearly $15 billion. As Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Perez oversees the vast range of CBP’s national security mission, including protecting our Nation’s border from terrorists and terrorist weapons, securing and facilitating lawful trade and travel, keeping illegal drugs and illegal aliens from crossing our borders, enforcing our trade laws and protecting our Nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and disease. In the course of CBP’s daily operations, the Deputy Commissioner directs CBP’s senior leadership in the execution of the agency’s mission with operations spanning 328 ports of entry, 7,000 miles of land border, 95,000 miles of shoreline, and in 50 countries.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Perez most recently served as the Executive Assistant Commissioner for Operations Support, where he provided oversight and executive direction to experts, analysts, and innovators in CBP’s offices of intelligence, international affairs, planning and requirements development, incident coordination, laboratories and scientific services, and law enforcement safety and compliance.
Prior to his role in Operations Support, Mr. Perez served as the Director of Field Operations (DFO) for CBP's New York Field Office, where he directed the activities of nearly 3,000 CBP employees and oversaw the arrival of more than 21 million international travelers and over $240 billion in imported goods. Mr. Perez has also held the positions of DFO and Port Director in Detroit, Michigan, leading more than 1,100 CBP employees throughout the state at seven ports of entry, which included three international bridges, the busiest commercial truck border crossing in North America, and the busiest privately owned vehicle border crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Earlier in his professional career, Mr. Perez served as the first Director of the Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in Washington, DC, a position he held from 2002 to 2005. In that role, he was responsible for the development and implementation of all the anti-terrorism industry partnership programs for CBP. Mr. Perez also held various positions as a Program Manager in CBP headquarters from 1997 through 2001, and began his career with the U.S. Customs Service in 1992 as a Customs Inspector in Newark, New Jersey.
Deputy Commissioner Perez has represented the Department of Homeland Security and CBP as a border security expert throughout the globe at scores of international business conferences, on official assignments alongside senior figures in U.S. and foreign governments, and in the national and international press. He has been a guest lecturer at the Georgetown University Law Center, Michigan State University Law School, the International Law Enforcement Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Mr. Perez also served on the Advisory Board of the Criminal Justice Department at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
Mr. Perez has been widely recognized throughout his career for his accomplishments and contributions to international border and trade security, including being named "Person of the Year" by the Maritime Security Council, receiving the "Keys to the City" by the Mayor of Cartagena, Colombia, receiving the "True American Hero, Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Federal Drug Agents Foundation, receiving the “Outstanding Service Medal” from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, receiving the Leadership Award from the Commissioner of CBP, and being a recipient of the federal government’s Distinguished Executive, Presidential Rank Award.
Mr. Perez holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and is a career member of the Senior Executive Service.