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BORSTAR agents respond to Harvey victims

Release Date: 
August 31, 2017

HOUSTON, Texas – The Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) Units have been deployed along the Texas Gulf Coast to assist with humanitarian efforts.

BORSTAR Operator Lupe Ramirez assist an elderly woman in Houston. Getty Images/Scott Olson
BORSTAR Operator Lupe Ramirez
assist an elderly woman in Houston.
Getty Images/Scott Olson

In anticipation of the potential devastation Hurricane Harvey could create, BORSTAR operators were pre-emptively deployed to the Coastal Bend area. After the deadly storm made landfall, BORSTAR operators assisted the Rockport, Texas community by searching through damaged homes for any victims that would require assistance. As Harvey continued inland, BORSTAR operators prepared to continue their rescue efforts in the newly impacted areas in both Fort Bend and Harris Counties, near Houston.

There are hundreds of photos and videos surfacing on the news outlets and the internet of the rescue and recovery missions. One of the photos (attached), taken by Getty Images, features a rescue conducted by a local BORSTAR operator and has circulated nationally.

“So others may live” is the not only the motto for Border Patrol agents who become part of the elite BORSTAR regimen but it’s also a reality these days for those evacuating the helpless victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Guadalupe Ramirez is stationed out of the Rio Grande Valley Sector and is one of the operators assigned to BORSTAR. He started with the Border Patrol in February of 2008 but also served as a police officer for the McAllen Police Department before joining the patrol. Ramirez jumped at the opportunity to assist and says he is proud to be of assistance to those most in need.

BORSTAR Operators conduct rescue operations during Hurricane Harvey
BORSTAR Operators conduct rescue
operations during Hurricane Harvey

“Our units are capable of making significant contributions in rescuing victims left trapped, distressed, and surrounded by water. What we’ve seen is complete devastation and our hearts go out to all who are suffering,” says Patrol Agent in Charge of the RGV Special Operations Detachment (SOD) Christopher Seiler.

SOD teams such as BORSTAR are composed of experienced Border Patrol Agents who have received specialized training in search and rescue operations, to include swift water rescue and recovery operations. All BORSTAR Operators are Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technicians and/or Nationally Registered Paramedics.

“The primary mission of these rescue teams is life preservation, it’s a combined effort in Houston to recover stranded residents inflicted by Hurricane Harvey,” says Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr.

Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector currently has over 3,000 Border Patrol Agents and support personnel. If you are interested in a challenging and rewarding career, you can contact the CBP Recruiting Office at 956.289.4808 or visit

For more on U.S. Customs and Border Protection recovery efforts, go to the following links:

Please visit to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us on Twitter at @CBPRGV.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021