Brownsville, Texas - Michael Freeman, Port Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Brownsville Port of Entry announced that the inaugural class of the first CBP Field Operations Brownsville Citizens Academy has graduated.
The CBP Field Operations Brownsville Citizens Academy (BCA) is part of an aggressive plan by Port Director Freeman to foster a better working relationship with the communities in which we live and work. The eight-week course provides class participants with a better working knowledge and understanding of CBP.
The academy consists of a series of classroom discussions and several hands-on scenarios. The citizens' academy is a field training that was held once a week on Tuesday evenings for eight weeks. The Brownsville Port of Entry plans to hold four to five academy classes each year with each class consisting of approximately 12 student participants. There is no registration or attendance cost to anyone who enrolls in the academy.
The goal of the BCA was to create a better understanding, improve communication, and partnership between the citizen academy participants and CBP through education. Community involvement plays an important role in travelers' entry document compliance and in reducing crime in any community. The first graduates of the Brownville Citizens' Academy have assisted us in identifying potential problems and solutions to the border issues that are affecting our community.
The first graduating class consisted of members from throughout our community. Represented in this Brownsville's First Citizens' Academy were members from the following organizations:
U.S. Consulate, Matamoros: U.S. Consul Michael Barkin, Assistant Consul Chinwe Obianwu
Mexico Consulate, Brownsville: Mexican Consul Rodolfo Quilantan, Assistant Consul Ramiro Ballesteros
Brownsville Chamber of Commerce CEO Angela Burton
San Benito Chamber of Commerce CEO Zeke Padilla
B&M Bridge Co. Manager John Hopkins, Assistant Manager Juan Sepulveda
Cameron County Bridge Manager Jesus Pena, Assistant Manager David Silva
"This inaugural class is a first of many for the Brownsville Port of Entry. I congratulate and applaud each participant for volunteering to attend our First Citizens' Academy and for their receptiveness as we continue to grow our partnership with our community," said Michael Freeman, CBP Port Director, Brownsville Port of Entry
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.