WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was honored as the 2021 Homeland Security Person of the Year by Homeland Security Today during an awards gala Dec. 15, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Government Technology and Services Coalition (GTSC).
The GTSC Homeland Security Today Person of the Year is awarded to people who serve the homeland security mission in an exemplary fashion, tangibly improving the nation’s prevention, protection, mitigation, and response capacity to make America safer.
This year the award was given to CBP’s workforce of more than 60,000 employees. CBP was selected from hundreds of nominations. During a time of humanitarian crises and worldwide pandemic, CBP employees have steadfastly fulfilled their mission to protect the American people, safeguard our borders, and enhance the nation’s economic prosperity.
Benjamine “Carry” Huffman, Executive Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Services, CBP, and Sanjeev
“Sonny” Bhagowalia, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Information Technology and CBP’s Chief Information Officer, were on hand to receive the Homeland Security Person of the Year award.
“I want to offer my sincere thanks to Homeland Security Today for recognizing us with this prestigious award,” said Executive Assistant Commissioner Huffman. “The men and women of CBP work tirelessly each day to ensure the safety of our borders and facilitate legitimate trade and travel throughout the worst pandemic in recent history, and it is humbling that Homeland Security Today sees and appreciates them.”
As the country’s largest law enforcement agency with extensive interaction with the public, CBP staff have adjusted workforce postures and health protocols to protect the public at ports of entry, while adapting to irregular migration patterns and rescuing migrants left in dangerous situations by smugglers along the border. Simultaneously CBP is helping the country rebound economically from the impacts of the ongoing pandemic through CBP’s facilitation of lawful trade and travel at ports of entry, and preventing dangerous and counterfeit goods from getting into the country.
The numbers tell the story. Air and Marine and Border Patrol personnel performed over 13,000 rescues in Fiscal Year 2021 of migrants left in dangerous situations by smugglers along the land and sea borders. CBP has adapted to changing migration patterns, deftly managing and surging resources as necessary, and performing admirable humanitarian work in the process. CBP personnel helped deliver 30 babies and provided excellent care to over 147,000 children over the course of the fiscal year. At the frontline of upholding U.S. Intellectual Property Rights, CBP fights to protect America’s innovation economy and the health and safety of consumers. In November alone, CBP seized nearly 1,545 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $335 million.
In November 2021, CBP reopened the U.S. land and ferry ports of entry to non-essential travel, ensuring a smooth opening and working to process vehicles as quickly and safely as possible. In addition, CBP worked to fight forced labor, issuing seven Withhold Release Orders and two forced labor Findings. CBP’s award-winning forced labor team fought to make global supply chains more humane and more secure.
CBP’s front-line agents and officers have also continued to improve our ability to interdict illegal narcotics coming across our borders, seizing over 600,000 pounds of illegal drugs the fiscal year, to include 190,000 of methamphetamine and 11,000 pounds of fentanyl. CBP’s actions have kept billions of lethal doses of these dangerous substances off America’s streets.
Visit www.CBP.gov or follow @CBP on Twitter for more CBP information and updates.