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Carla Provost named first female chief of Border Patrol

Roughly 5 percent of the Border Patrol’s officers are women, about the same as when Provost joined the agency 23 years ago.
Image: Carla Provost
Carla Provost, then acting chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 31.Allison Shelley / Reuters file

WASHINGTON — Carla Provost, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was officially appointed the agency's first female chief Thursday, more than a year after she was named acting chief.

Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan called it a historic announcement. "No one is better suited or better prepared to be chief,” he said. “Carla is an agent’s agent.”

In becoming the Border Patrol’s 18th chief, Provost said, “I don’t know if it’s possible to be both humble and proud, but that’s the emotion I’m feeling today.”

As for the challenges the agency faces, she said, "Border security is more than just what we do on the border every day."

Supporting the men and women in the force requires closing "some of these loopholes that are drawing people to bring their families and their children in a very treacherous trip to come into this country."

Asked about becoming the first woman to lead the agency, she said, “I may be the first female chief, but I am certain I will not will be the last.”

Roughly 5 percent of the Border Patrol’s officers are women, about the same as when she joined the agency. “I believe this will help,” Provost said about her appointment. She said the Border Patrol is undertaking targeted recruitment in an effort to bring in more women.

After serving as a police officer in her native Kansas, Provost joined the Border Patrol in 1995, and has been posted in California, Arizona and Texas. President Donald Trump named her acting chief in April 2017.