The City of Brownsville played a significant role in assisting with the influx of migrants in the region, and this was recognized during the Camp Monument Appreciation Ceremony hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol on September 7, 2023. During this event, several key individuals from the city were awarded plaques for their contributions:
Mayor John Cowen Jr.
Police Chief Felix Sauceda
Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon
Odee Ann Leal, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
The ceremony took place at the Brownsville Events Center and was attended by Gloria C. Chavez, Chief of the RGV Sector, and Jason D. Owens, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, who expressed their gratitude for the assistance provided during the migrant influx that occurred between April 16 and May 11, 2023, where approximately 45,000 migrants were encountered.
Mayor Cowen, in his remarks, highlighted the importance of cooperation among various agencies in handling both the safety of the local community and the migrant population in a humanitarian way. He praised the collaborative efforts, teamwork, and leadership demonstrated by all involved.
“I really applaud everyone for coming together during this time and especially not having an impact on our community. I think the average person really didn’t realize what everyone was going through here and I think that was a testament to the cooperation, the teamwork, the leadership of each of everyone here,” Mayor Cowen said.
Mayor Cowen also emphasized the significance of good leadership and noted his willingness to step aside when a solid plan and the right people were in place. He commended the strong leadership within the city and their commitment to doing what was best for Brownsville.
“Part of being a good leader for me is getting out of the way when we have a good plan and when we have the right people in place. I am really blessed to be part of a city where we have such strong leadership and that are committed to always doing the right thing for our city,” Mayor Cowen said.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts between the City of Brownsville and the U.S. Border Patrol, the city was able to manage the high number of migrants without any negative impact on the local community. Chief Gloria C. Chavez mentioned the impressive statistics: 45,000 migrants from 34 different countries were processed in just 28 days, and throughout this period, the community of Brownsville remained unaffected.
“Forty-five thousand people, 34 different countries, in 28 days. That was all of us together that managed that and not once did it impact the community of Brownsville, Texas, not once,” Chavez said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security established a temporary migrant transfer area in Brownsville called "Camp Monument," which was situated near the Texas Southmost College golf course. Thousands of migrants were processed at this location and subsequently transported to be reunited with their families or sponsors. The City of Brownsville offered its services and assistance to the federal agency during this challenging time, contributing to the overall success of the operation.