With People in Need, CBP Answers the Call
The impact Hurricane Harvey has had on Texas and Louisiana is devastating—lives have been lost, entire communities were under water, some survivors have lost everything including their homes. With so many in need, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel have been working around the clock to help as much as we can.
As the warnings of the storm’s potential grew, CBP immediately started preparing for rescue and relief efforts, deploying officers, agents and assets before the rain began to fall.
This weekend I went to Houston to personally thank the men and women who have been on the ground, tirelessly working to rescue survivors and help resume business operations. I encountered a motivated and integrate team with sky-high morale. More than 600 CBP employees, including those who serve in non-law enforcement capacities, deployed from all over the country to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. They responded to the call, put their fellow citizens first, and saved thousands of lives.
When you watch videos of the rescues—Border Patrol agents and CBP officers entering almost shoulder-high water to rescue a woman clinging to a utility pole, Air and Marine and BORSTAR agents and SRT Operators rappelling out of helicopters to rescue residents stranded on their roofs, and Air and Marine Pilots and ground controllers navigating challenging airspace and holding steady over countless rescues—“thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. These officers and agents selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to save the lives of people and pets affected by this disastrous storm. As their Acting Commissioner, I could not be prouder of these brave men and women, the CBP teamwork they exemplified, and the spirit of service they demonstrated.
Our personnel also looked out for one another. They helped evacuate those who needed to, ensured the safety of the families of officers and agents on duty, cleared debris after the storm passed, and delivered supplies.
And now as we resume operations facilitating trade and travel, employees from Field Offices and Sectors around the country have deployed, so their colleagues in Houston and the affected areas can focus on their own recovery.
CBP has also been asked to support public safety efforts in the area by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Officers and agents have responded to criminal situations, including burglaries, assaults, and shots fired, with local law enforcement and will continue to assist as needed.
Our primary concern has been and continues to be the lives and safety of all those in the affected areas. Our officers and agents on the ground remain committed to these efforts and have expressed their desire to stay in the area as long as they are needed. I thank them for their dedication, their selflessness in going above and beyond the call of duty, and their service to country.