EAGLE PASS, Texas –The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector honored two Border Patrol Agents on Sept. 14 at the Eagle Pass Station. South Texas Regional Director Ana Maria Garcia from the Office of United States Senator John Cornyn, presented Border Patrol Agents Mark Garcia and Josue Gonzalez with the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.
The Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery was created by public law in 2008 to honor exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty. The agents’ actions during the rescue of a an immigrant attempting to cross the Rio Grande River on May 12, 2014 near Eagle Pass, exemplify precisely that type of selflessness and bravery.
Heavy rain fall in Eagle Pass had caused the Rio Grande River to swell with deep and rapid currents. Gonzalez, who is now stationed at Laredo Sector, Garcia, and other agents were working in the Eagle Pass area when they received a report that a large group of adults and children were crossing the Rio Grande River near the Port of Entry. Several of the people in the group were seen floating uncontrollably downriver while a few others were stranded under the Port of Entry. The agents were able to apprehend the group who had successfully crossed the river without harm.
Agents Garcia and Gonzalez made their way under the Port of Entry Bridge when they noticed one individual clinging to a pillar in the middle of the river. When their attempt to rescue the individual by passing her a rope failed, Agents Garcia and Gonzalez entered the chest-deep water and attempted to swim to the stranded woman, but they became exhausted from the rapid flow and depth of the river. Still determined to make another attempt to rescue the stranded woman, Agents Garcia and Gonzalez tied a rescue rope around their waists that was secured by agents on the riverbank and reentered the water further upriver ultimately reaching the women in distress. With the assistance of agents on the riverbank, they pulled her to safety.
“This heroic act measures the true character and fortitude of Agents Garcia and Gonzalez in the face of danger,” said Matthew J. Hudak, Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Del Rio Sector. “Without regard for their own safety, these agents risked their lives for the sake of another and that is commendable.”
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.