It is said that determination is the wake up call to the human will and that victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting. Marlisse Garcia, a Paralegal Specialist in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Area Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the embodiment of this ethos. ‘I can, I will, I must’ is a favorite mantra that Marlisse has used to face and overcome many challenges in her life, including her education, her military career, and her path to service within our agency.
The 2020 Commissioner’s Awards honor the dedication and professional achievements of employees from across U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The individuals designated below performed above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrated a special dedication to CBP's mission.
Polygraph screening has been part of CBP’s vetting process since 2008, but in 2010, Congress passed the Anti-Border Corruption Act requiring the agency to use the polygraph to vet all law enforcement applicants. Then in 2017, President Trump issued an executive order directing CBP to hire at least 5,000 Border Patrol agents in the coming years.
“In the midst of this global pandemic and the vast challenges we’re all navigating, I really believe coming together in this way shows our collective commitment to continue our persistent, ongoing dialogue and candid discussions about the most pressing issues facing CBP and you, the trade community,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan in his welcoming address.
As the coronavirus pandemic has continued to surge worldwide, severely impacting the global economy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s trade advisory group has continued to forge ahead. Undeterred by the unprecedented health crisis, the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee, known as COAC, convened virtually for the second time this year on Wednesday, July 15.
Jeffrey R. Jack serves as U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) national Veterans Employment Program Manager (VEPM). In this role, he directly assists transitioning service-members and veterans in securing careers across the agency. One of these innovative strategies he’s implemented and oversees is CBP’s successful collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE) internship program.
Andrew Laurence and Shannon Ferguson, two CBP scientists from the Operations Support’s Laboratories and Scientific Services Chicago Laboratory, have secured a top five spot and remain in the running to be named the 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, People’s Choice Winner.
For their outstanding efforts, Laurence and Ferguson were selected as Emerging Leaders finalists—a category that recognizes the significant contributions of federal professionals under the age of 35.
Not only must U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership evaluate how to keep frontline personnel safe and able to conduct essential operations, but they must also ensure the workforce is trained and certified to safely accomplish the mission with the tools and resources available.