The objectives behind Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s visit to the Rio Grande Valley were twofold; an opportunity to thank Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees for their hard work during the unaccompanied children (UAC) crisis, and to discuss President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.
While in McAllen, Secretary Johnson conducted a town hall style meeting session with DHS employees from throughout the region in the station’s muster room. The Secretary began by thanking everyone for their efforts during the surge and unaccompanied children crisis. During the crisis, unaccompanied children apprehensions increased from around 20,000 in FY 13 to more than 50,000 in FY14. Overall apprehensions surpassed the high-water mark of 240,000 set in 1997 to more than 256,000 in FY14.
“It was great to see the sally port empty,” said Secretary Johnson when arriving at the McAllen Station in contrast to during the crisis when it was constantly full of people.
The Secretary’s visit just happened to coincide with the RGV Fajita Cook Off, an event where teams from various agencies get together, bringing their culinary skills in tow. They cook fajitas, ribs and side dishes to be judged by an impartial panel. The winner gets to choose which charity from the Combined Federal Campaign receives all of the proceeds. This year’s participants included teams from the Office of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Marshals, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Texas National Guard, Border Patrol, and the Special Operations Detachment. After a very tight competition, team BORLOG of the McAllen Border Patrol Station was crowned the 2014 winner. The total amount raised was $4,621, which was donated to the McAllen Station’s charity of choice, the Roger L. Von Amelunxen Foundation. This charity aids families of ICE and CBP employees with expenses related to death in the line of duty, scholarships and unreimbursed medical expenses.
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.