EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Office of Field Operations personnel and OFO Special Response Team Members are supporting the federal government response to Hurricane Irma.
A group of 10 CBP employee employees were dispatched to a central staging area in Hammond Louisiana over the weekend. They are joined by seven members of the El Paso Special Response Team who deployed Friday. All 17 are awaiting further instructions regarding specific assignments. Members of the SRT just returned from hurricane Harvey before this most recent assignment.
“Once again CBP personnel from El Paso and around the country are stepping up to the plate to provide assistance to those impacted by this latest devastating storm,” said El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “We are proud to be able to lend a hand to those in need.”
The 17 members include personnel from the El Paso, Presidio, Columbus and Tornillo ports of entry. They traveled to the assembly point in multiple vehicles loaded with supplies to assist in the effort. Some of the equipment the team brought includes ladders, breaching kits, life preservers, water rescue kit, throw bags, generator and fuel, lighting systems, rescue rope and other vital supplies. As in previous emergency response situation it is anticipated that their missions will include disaster medical assistance, assisting local law enforcement agencies, and search and rescue.
As in previous emergency situations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s emergency response is conducted in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Response Framework.
More information on the CBP response to hurricane Irma is available on the CBP website.
The Department's law enforcement components will be at the ready to help anyone in need of assistance. In evacuation or response, we are committed to making sure that we can assist local authorities quickly, safely, and efficiently. DHS will not conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area. At the request of FEMA, local and state authorities, DHS law enforcement personnel will be in the affected area to conduct search and rescue, air traffic de-confliction and public safety missions. When it comes to rescuing people in the wake of Hurricane Irma, immigration status is not and will not be a factor. However, the laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.
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.