David V. Aguilar was named Acting Commissioner of U. S. Customs and Border Protection on December 30, 2011. As Acting Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security’s agency responsible for integrated border management, immigration control and trade and travel processing, Aguilar leads a workforce of 60,000, including 43,000 uniformed law enforcement officers.
Aguilar had been CBP Deputy Commissioner since April 11, 2010, where he served as chief operating officer, overseeing the daily operations of the agency. Aguilar’s primary focus has been to ensure that CBP’s mission of protecting U.S. borders from terrorists and terrorist weapons is carried out effectively in partnership with other federal, state, local and foreign partners. Aguilar also assured that all border-related responsibilities were met, including keeping out illegal drugs and illegal aliens, securing and facilitating legitimate global trade and travel, and protecting the U.S. food supply and agriculture industry from pests and disease.
On July 1, 2004, Aguilar was named Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, assuming the position as the nation’s highest ranking Border Patrol agent. With his knowledge of the job and expertise gained from more than 31 years of service with the Border Patrol, Chief Aguilar directed the enforcement efforts of more than 20,000 agents nationwide.
Prior to his position of national Chief of the Border Patrol, Aguilar was Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson sector. As Tucson sector chief, he had more than 2,000 agents and 200 support personnel under his command. He had oversight of eight geographically dispersed Border Patrol stations along 261 miles of the Arizona/Mexico border.
In 2003, the Tucson sector earned the Commissioner’s anti-terrorism award for achievements under Operation Desert Safeguard, an operation planned, designed and implemented in the high-risk areas of the Tucson sector. In March 2004, the Department of Homeland Security designated Aguilar as the Border and Transportation Security Integrator for the execution of the Arizona Border Control Initiative. In 2004, Chief Aguilar was also elected as the President of the Southern Arizona Federal Executive Association.
Before his Tucson Sector assignment, Aguilar served as Assistant Regional Director for the Border Patrol in the central region of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service. Director Aguilar was the principal assistant, advisor, and strategic planner to the regional director where he managed, directed and guided the regional program from August 1996 to November 1999.
Aguilar served as patrol agent in charge of three Border Patrol Stations in Texas from 1988 to August 1996: Dallas, Rio Grande Valley and Brownsville. Under his command, the Dallas and Brownsville Border Patrol Stations were both awarded the Commissioner’s Award for Group Achievement. At the time, the Brownsville was the largest Border Patrol station in the central region.
Aguilar entered on duty with the Border Patrol in June 1978 at Laredo, Texas, where he held positions of assistant patrol agent in charge and patrol agent in charge.
Aguilar holds an associate degree in accounting from Laredo Community College, and attended Laredo State University and University of Texas at Arlington. He is a Senior Executive Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University He is a recipient of the 2005 President’s Meritorious Excellence Award, and in 2008, was a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award.
Acting Commissioner Aguilar and his wife of 37 years, Bea, have three children and four grandchildren.