Deputy Commissioner Welcomes Newest Border Patrol Agents with Message of Values
Vigilance, service to country, integrity. Those are the core values of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and something CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez looks to instill in all members of CBP, especially the newest to its ranks, as guiding principles.
“Values, as in, what has been and continues to be instilled in each and every one of us —personally by our loved ones and professionally by the organization public or private that we choose to be a part of,” Perez told the 22 new graduates of the Border Patrol Academy during a ceremony in Artesia, New Mexico, Aug. 20.
Perez broke down each of the values and their importance to CBP.
Vigilance, he said, was born out of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, as an important lesson in how vigilance must always be in CBP members’ hearts and minds.
“Complacency is not an option,” he said. “That vigilance need be ever present, because it protects each and every one of you, and it protects the agent along your side. It protects your community, your family, and the greatest country in the history of this planet.”
Perez said all CBP employees are public servants. Providing a service to the American people – in this case, becoming a Border Patrol agent – is a key part of the job. “That noble call to be a public servant is something you should be proud of every day,” he said.
There is no public or private organization that can survive without integrity, Perez told the graduates.
“This patrol, this agency, is only as strong as the weakest link, and if that weak link is breach of integrity, it need not be a part of this agency,” he said. “We must all walk that walk and embody [integrity] every day if we are to live up to the expectations that we have on ourselves and that the public has, quite rightfully so, on each and every one of us.”
Perez added one more core value to the list he wants the new Border Patrol agents to take forth in their new careers: professionalism. He said every encounter and interaction they have with their communities, families, coworkers, and stakeholders is a chance to show how professional CBP is.
“You are a reflection of the entirety of the 60,000 of CBP,” he said, encouraging the new agents to expect as much from their colleagues as they expect from themselves. He also stated that the agents needed to keep in mind the motto of the Border Patrol that started just a short distance away in El Paso, Texas, nearly 100 years ago: Honor First.
The deputy commissioner thanked the new graduates’ families for their help and for the sacrifices they have made and will make over the coming years. He said he is privileged to work with these newest Border Patrol agents and he encouraged them to strike a work-life balance, despite the challenge of dangerous work during long days and nights. Most importantly, he advised, get the most out of the careers that lie ahead.
“Doors will be opened for each and every one of you throughout the entirety of your careers,” Perez said. “It will just be a matter and a question as to whether or not you choose to walk through those doors and embrace an ever more present challenge that may be put in front of you.”
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.