EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The former director of the Presidio, Texas, port of entry will now oversee operations at the expanded Columbus, New Mexico, land port.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials swore in Jesus L. “Louie” Chavez as the new Columbus port director during a change of command ceremony Thursday.
Chavez will direct operations and enforcement not only at Columbus but also at the smaller Antelope Wells port of entry 85 miles southeast. Columbus borders Palomas, Mexico, while Antelope Wells is north of El Berrendo, a Mexican community a straight shot north of the regional ranching and agricultural centers of Casas Grandes-Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico.
“It is an honor and privilege to lead the men and women of CBP,” Chavez said at the change-of-command ceremony. “I am committed to having this port deliver the finest level of service to the travelers and business community who use our facilities while also maintaining our vital homeland security mission.”
The southern New Mexico port underwent a major expansion in 2019 based on a steady growth of passenger vehicle and commercial truck traffic. Volumes dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic but have started to rise in the past two years, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.
The port processes a daily northbound average of 1,000 cars, 900 pedestrians and 70 commercial cars. It is the only port of entry in New Mexico that operates 24 hours a day, CBP said.
Chavez is a U.S. Army veteran, joined what was known then as U.S. Customs in 1991, where he served as inspector, firearms instruction, training officer, recruiter, equal opportunity instructor and contraband enforcement team member.
At CBP, Chavez served as supervisory protection officer, assistant port director at Santa Teresa, New Mexico, assistant port director at Tornillo, Texas, and port director at Presidio in 2021.