A Border Patrol agent walks along he newly installed concertina wire at Border Field State Park.
A Border Patrol agent walks along newly installed concertina wire at Border Field State Park. Photo by Chris Stone

The Secretary of Homeland Security will honor 12 members of the San Diego sector’s foreign operations team for their efforts in protecting the border during the 2018 “caravan” border rushes.

The Border Patrol agents will be recognized in a Washington, DC, ceremony on Nov. 6.

The team of 12 were selected for a “leadership excellence” award because of their efforts in November and December 2018. With large caravans arriving from Central America, the Border Patrol and the government of Mexico joined forces to create a tactical command center in Tijuana to coordinate efforts.

This partnership allowed rapid coordination on a day-to-day basis that deescalated and defused violence and prevented potentially catastrophic incidents on several occasions. The effort was so successful that this international partnership was cited as a best practice and duplicated in other parts of the United States.

Two other San Diego agents will be honored at the same event. One agent will receive the secretary’s “meritorious service” award for his work in developing a network of partners internationally and across multiple federal entities to quickly identify people from Asia and other continents who were attempting to enter the United States for criminal purposes.

The second agent being specially honored will receive the secretary’s “excellence” award. In October 2018, authorities received information about a large caravan that planned to rush the international boundary from Tijuana. As a member of an international team, the San Diego agent implemented measures to counter the forced-entry plan, while maintaining normal port-of-entry operations for local area commuters, travelers and commerce.