"I want to thank David V. Aguilar for his time as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and 31 years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. A native of South Texas, David began his remarkable CBP career as a Border Patrol agent in 1978, working tirelessly to secure our border.
Commissioner Aguilar became Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in 2004, where he presided over the largest expansion of the Border Patrol in its 88-year history, forged strong partnerships with the Department of Defense and the National Guard to secure the border, and helped implement the Department's Southwest Border Initiative, among many other efforts, prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner in April 2010 and serving as acting Commissioner in 2011-12.
With the Border Patrol, Commissioner Aguilar served as Patrol Agent in Charge of three Border Patrol stations in Texas, two of which received the Commissioner's award for group achievement while under his command. He also served as Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson Sector, leading implementation of the Department's Arizona Border Control Initiative. For his work and his career of service, Commissioner Aguilar received the Presidential Rank Award in 2008.
During his tenure, Commissioner Aguilar led a workforce of over 60,000, including 43,000 uniformed law enforcement officers, focusing on integrated border management, which includes securing our nation's border from all threats, while facilitating travel and trade. Under his leadership, attempts to cross the border illegally are down nearly 80 percent from their peak, seizures of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband are up, and some of the safest communities in America are found in our border states. He also led CBP to conduct the first West Coast Trade Symposium; expanded its travel facilitation "Trusted Traveler" programs; fully implemented the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 requirement of 100 percent applicant polygraph screening, ahead of schedule; launched two new Centers of Excellence and Expertise and created six more; and worked with our international partners to facilitate international trade and travel. Commissioner Aguilar has been integral in leading CBP's modern transformation, leveraging enhanced technology and training, increased Office of Air and Marine capabilities, and advanced information analysis to assist legal travel and trade.
Because of his efforts over the past three decades, our country's borders and border communities are safer and more secure, and he leaves behind a more sophisticated and agile law enforcement agency -- our nation's largest. I am deeply grateful for his contributions to DHS, CBP and our country. I congratulate him on his career as a selfless public servant and wish him and his family the very best in his retirement. David will be missed."