ARTESIA, N.M. —Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Director Connie L. Patrick today traveled to Artesia, N.M. to deliver remarks at commencement ceremonies for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Academy's 1,000th graduating class.
"Every day, the American people depend on the Border Patrol to keep our borders secure," said Secretary Napolitano. "Today, we have the largest, best trained, and best equipped Border Patrol we've had at any time in our nation's history, and I'm proud of all the brave men and women who dedicate themselves to this important work."
The Department of Homeland Security has deployed unprecedented levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border, resulting in a 53 percent decrease in border apprehensions—a key indicator of illegal immigration—over the past three years.
"Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to the men and women from the Academy who, over the years, have prepared agents for the increasingly challenging and vital mission of securing our nation's borders," said Acting Commissioner Aguilar. "If you want to make a difference, if you want to give back, if you want to live your love of country, then you are in the right place."
The Border Patrol Academy at the FLETC in Artesia is one of the most rigorous federal law enforcement academies in the nation. The 45 graduates of the 1,000th Session who completed a 58-day training program will be assigned to Border Patrol sectors in Tucson, Ariz.; Del Rio, Texas; and Laredo, Texas.
"This training program is long and challenging, and each of these men and women worked very hard to get here today," said Director Patrick. "It is my hope that the training they received at the FLETC has prepared them to serve the United States with honor and distinction."
The Border Patrol Academy offered its first session in 1934 in El Paso, Texas. The 32 students attended classes in marksmanship and horsemanship. Today, the Academy maintains its strong training tradition; students attend classes in immigration, customs and drug laws, firearms as well as physical training. To date, the Academy has graduated nearly 41,000 students.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov or www.dhs.gov/careers.