Border Patrol Halts Centennial Gala Amid Ethics Inquiry

 May 18, 2024

The centennial celebration of the U.S. Border Patrol was set to be a commemorative milestone, highlighting a century of service since its formation in 1924. However, a significant part of this celebration has been abruptly called off.

According to Washington Examiner, the planned gala in El Paso, Texas, intended to celebrate the Border Patrol's 100 years, has been canceled due to an ongoing investigation into ethical concerns.

The gala, initially scheduled for May 25, 2024, was anticipated to be a grand event with Border Patrol agents from across the nation converging in El Paso. These agents were set to celebrate a century since the Border Patrol’s establishment, reflecting on a history filled with diverse challenges and milestones.

Internal investigations were sparked into the conduct of key figures such as national chief Jason Owens and Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Gloria Chavez. Their interactions with Mexican business entities, particularly a tequila manufacturer, raised questions about possible ethics violations. This probe was detailed in a report by NBC on May 9, 2024, shedding light on a trip to Mexico involving Jason Owens and other officials, during which visits to several tequila distilleries were made. The trip, which included personal and officially disclosed visits, became a focal point of the investigation after concerns were raised about the potential for conflicts of interest.

Events proceed despite the gala cancellation

Despite the gala's cancellation, other centennial events will continue as arranged. These include a security expo, a series of sporting events like a baseball game and golf tournaments, as well as a parade and various ceremonies, ensuring that the milestone is still celebrated comprehensively.

Notwithstanding the setback with the gala, the agency has shown resilience in maintaining its anniversary schedule. Actor Mario Lopez, who was due to host the gala, expressed disappointment but respect for the decision prioritizing ethical standards over festivity.

“Due to a last-minute opinion from Chief Counsel at Border Patrol’s overseeing agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection," noted an insider, reflecting the sudden nature of the decision influenced by higher authority within the department.

Detailed investigations ensure transparency

The commitment to maintain integrity within the agency was underscored by a spokesperson from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “Consistent with our commitment to accountability, we thoroughly investigate all allegations and take appropriate action to address any issues identified throughout investigations,” they stated.

The decision to cancel the gala was not a light one, influenced by advice from the CBP chief counsel and the Office of Professional Responsibility. Both played critical roles in guiding the decision-making in light of the potential conflict of interest issues that arose.

An insider questioned the differential treatment perceived between the Defense Department and the Border Patrol regarding such issues, sparking further discussion about the proceedings. “Why is it OK for the [Defense Department] but not the Border Patrol? This is the administration coming after the Border Patrol,” the insider lamented, highlighting a sentiment of disparity.


Despite the controversies and consequent cancellation of the gala, continues to be an active platform, updating attendees and stakeholders about ongoing and upcoming events related to the centennial celebration.

The involved officials, such as Jason Owens, maintain that their actions have been above board. “Jason will be cleared for all of this. The trip was approved, and documented, and personal leave was taken... We paid for everything. We have receipts for everything,” assured a person who partook in the trip. Additionally, precautions were reported to have been taken to ensure the trip’s transparency with security measures aligned with both the U.S. and Mexican governments being informed prior.

While the gala component of the U.S. Border Patrol's 100th-anniversary celebration has been canceled, other events will move forward as scheduled, focusing on the positive elements of the agency's century-long service. The investigation into ethical concerns continues, aiming to clarify and resolve any issues, thus reinforcing the Border Patrol's dedication to maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability in its operations. Celebrations will proceed, albeit with the noted absence of one of their most anticipated events.

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