LAREDO, TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Port of Laredo, Texas recently participated in the annual Laredo Noon Optimists Youth Appreciation Day. The event took place at the Laredo Port of Entry where two high school students were selected to participate as the Port Director for a day.
Joshua Duque, a student of United South High School and Leonardo Escamilla, a student from Dr. Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa High School had the opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes perspective of the day-to-day operations at the Laredo Port Entry and what it entails to be in charge of one of the busiest land border ports in the country.
The day began when Port Director Gregory Alvarez administered the Oath of Office to both students. After they were sworn-in, introduced to the port’s Command Staff and familiarized with CBP’s mission, the high school students had the opportunity to witness what a CBP officer’s job entails and the challenges they face on a daily basis at the Juarez-Lincoln and Gateway to the Americas International Bridges.
The students were given a tour of the facility which included the port’s primary inspection booths, passport control secondary processing, secondary vehicle inspection as well as the holding cells. Moreover, the students were able to witness the numerous layers of enforcement which are utilized at the Laredo Port of Entry such as the canines and non-intrusive inspections which are usually the most popular and intriguing to young adults. CBP officers and canine enforcement officers set up narcotic training aids on vehicles and demonstrated how the canine alerts to the odor of narcotics. They also observed as CBP officers utilized a non-intrusive imaging system which assists in locating concealed narcotics within vehicles. The highlight of the tour was the presentation provided by the Firearms Training Division. The instructors provided the students with the opportunity to go hands on with several less lethal devices to include the Electronic Control Weapon (ECW) known as a “Taser” and the Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray.
After finishing the port tour, Assistant Port Director Francisco Garcia and both students attended a luncheon which was hosted by the Laredo Noon Optimists at the International Bank of Commerce conference room. Both students were selected to participate in this event by a counselor from their respective schools and were recognized for their commitment to academics.
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.