CBP Holds Change of Command Ceremony for Sidney Aki, Port Director, Laredo Port of Entry
Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), federal, state, local civilian, consular and elected officials and the international trade community gathered today to attend and participate in the formal change of command ceremony today to swear in Sidney Aki as port director, Laredo port of entry.
"It is an honor to serve as port director for Laredo where international trade and commerce is the lifeblood of the city. The Laredo community has greeted me with such warm hospitality and welcoming arms. Moving forward I am eager to work together with the community as we carry out our important border security mission while facilitating lawful trade and travel," Aki said.
"Sidney Aki's extensive experience in enforcement and tactical operations coupled with his past years of proven law enforcement leadership as Assistant Director of Border Security at the Detroit office, ideally position him for this critically challenging assignment in Laredo," stated CBP OFO Assistant Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski.
Port Director Aki officially entered on duty earlier this month. Commissioner Alan Bersin announced Aki's selection as Port Director, Laredo port of entry in early May.
During the change of command ceremony, a CBP Honor Guard presented and posted the colors prior to the singing of the national anthem. Supervisory CBP Officer and Chaplain Esteban Morales delivered the invocation. Assistant Port Director Adriana Arce delivered welcoming remarks and recognized dignitaries. Director of Field Operations Eugenio Garza Jr. delivered a keynote speech. U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña delivered the Oath of Office to Port Director Aki. DFO Garza presented incoming Port Director Aki with the CBP guidon (flag) to formally assume command. Border Patrol Agent and Chaplain Daniel Treviño delivered the benediction.
As port director for the Laredo port of entry, Aki will oversee the day-to-day operations of four international bridges processing passenger and commercial truck traffic, a railroad crossing, an international airport, import specialists at Laredo, Pharr and Los Indios and fines, penalties and forfeitures operations for the Laredo field office.
The Laredo field office processes the largest amount of commercial traffic along the entire U.S.-Mexican border with more than $104 billion in merchandise entering in FY2010. The Laredo port of entry processes the largest amount of commercial truck traffic on the U.S.-Mexico border. In Fiscal Year 2010, CBP officers at Laredo port of entry processed 3.8 million pedestrians, 1.5 million commercial trucks, 5 million privately-owned vehicles and 43,867 commercial buses.
Since September of 2008, Mr. Aki has served as the Assistant Director of Border Security at the Detroit Field Office, Office of Field Operations (OFO). His responsibilities included assisting with the operational oversight of seven major ports of entry in Michigan and overseeing more than 1,300 employees. He has also held various acting positions the past year to include port director at JFK International Airport and director of field operations for both the Miami and Tampa Field Offices.
Beginning in September 2006, Mr. Aki served as the port director at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Mr. Aki also previously held the position of a policy advisor for the Assistant Secretary of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security from September 2005 through July 2006 where he provided assistance and oversight in the development of policy for border security related issues.
He also served as a policy advisor for the Commissioner's Office of Policy and Planning and a program manager for OFO's Border Security and Facilitation at CBP headquarters.
Mr. Aki began his career in 1996 as an inspector with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Port of Calexico, California.
Mr. Aki is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a graduate of Saint Martin's College in Lacey, Washington, and holds a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.