El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol Chief Gloria I. Chavez is departing to take command of the agency’s bustling Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas next month.
The move is a return home for the native of Brownsville, Texas, who has 27 years’ experience in law enforcement and border security, including holding key leadership posts within the Border Patrol, the agency said.
“Being the U.S. Border Patrol Chief of the Rio Grande Valley has always been a goal of mine with the added value of finally being home after many years away,” Chavez said in a statement.
Chavez is scheduled to officially assume command as chief patrol agent of the RGV Sector on Oct. 9, overseeing agents in one of the busiest stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector covers 277 river miles and 316 coastal miles along the Gulf of Mexico, encompassing about 34 Texas counties.
Chavez arrived as interim chief in El Paso during the height of the migrant influx in summer 2019 before being named permanent chief in March 2020. She was previously chief of California’s El Centro sector and Washington’s Spokane sector and served two tours of duty at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Chavez worked to increase transparency and improve community engagement in El Paso, and immigrant advocates said she was accessible in a way previous leadership wasn’t.
“It is with mixed emotion that I depart this border community. I am grateful to the El Paso city and county officials, congressional representatives, non-governmental organizations and human rights coalitions for their warm acceptance and cooperation,” Chavez said.
She thanked the agents and staff of the Border Patrol for “their dedicated service to our great nation and the support they have given me,” adding, it “is truly amazing.”
Chavez grew up in a Mexican American family in Brownsville, the southmost border city in Texas. She graduated from Gladys Porter High School and attended Texas Southmost College before moving to Corpus Christi, where she began her law enforcement career with the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office and then the Taft Police Department, according to the Border Patrol.
Chavez then joined the Border Patrol and got her start as an agent in Imperial Beach, California, in 1995, which was the hottest spot on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“My family is so very happy to know that soon I will be back in their daily lives as I had been away for so long,” Chavez said in a statement. “My parents, as any other parent would be of their children, are so very proud of my achievements in life.”
Chavez has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and a master’s degree in homeland security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School.