|McALLEN, June 27 - Kevin Oaks, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, has penned an open letter to the people of the Rio Grande Valley.
Speaking about the current humanitarian crisis triggered by the surge in undocumented immigrants arriving in the region, Oaks said he has never seen a region as united and strong in his 30 years in Border Patrol.
“The incredible unity and strength I have witnessed in the Rio Grande Valley surpasses anything I've seen in my nearly 30 years of service in the Border Patrol. I'm honored to be part of such an exceptional community,” Oaks wrote.
Oaks singled out for particular praise Catholic Charities RGV, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, and Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia.
Oaks took over as chief of the Valley sector in April. He was previously operations division chief for Border Patrol in Washington, D.C. He has held a variety of supervisory, managerial, and leadership positions, including chief patrol agent of the Buffalo Sector and commander of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit. He has served 29 years with the Border Patrol and a total of 33 years with the federal government, including his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
As chief patrol agent of Valley sector, Oaks manages more than 3,000 Border Patrol agents and has oversight of nine Border Patrol stations, three traffic checkpoints and an intelligence office. The Rio Grande Valley Sector encompasses more than 34,000 square miles in 34 Texas counties, shares 316 river miles with Mexico, and covers 317 coastal miles.
Here is Oaks’ letter in full:
June 27, 2014
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the leaders and residents of the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County as well as the numerous non-governmental and faith-based organizations who have been compassionately caring for and providing aid to the Central American families who have recently traveled to our community and are in need of help.
Although the humanitarian crisis we are currently facing is straining local community resources, your outpouring of support has continued to be both substantial and admirable. I wish to commend all of the organizations and individuals who have generously opened their hearts and donated their time - as well as food, clothing, toiletries and other items - to ease the suffering of these families. Additionally, the support we have received from our local law enforcement partners and consulate offices is worthy of praise. The incredible unity and strength I have witnessed in the Rio Grande Valley surpasses anything I've seen in my nearly 30 years of service in the Border Patrol. I'm honored to be part of such an exceptional community.
I would also like to commend the many individuals from volunteer organizations, such as Catholic Charities, and government agencies outside of the Rio Grande Valley, who have traveled great distances to support our community. Your assistance has been invaluable for helping us attend to the basic needs of these families, including the provision of warm meals, showers, clean clothes, and a compassionate ear. This type of selfless sacrifice exemplifies one of the themes this great national is all about - taking care of people.
I want to personally thank McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia for their tremendous efforts. Their professionalism and leadership over the past several weeks has been both impressive and crucial to reducing the impact of this crisis on the region. Their extraordinary efforts have eased the suffering of helpless immigrant families who have already faced unimaginable hardships.
The Border Patrol will continue to bring additional resources and agents to the Rio Grande Valley, to address current conditions and effectively execute all components of our border security mission. Once again, thank you for your support, patience, and selfless generosity as we work together to alleviate this humanitarian crisis.
Chief Patrol Agent
U.S. Border Patrol
Rio Grande Valley Sector