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Who is Carla Provost, U.S. Border Patrol's first female chief?

Elise Solé
Carla Provost has been appointed the first female chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. (Photo: Getty Images)

President Trump has appointed Carla Provost as the first female chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Provost, 48, a 23-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was promoted into the position from acting chief and, according to NBC News, said of the opportunity, “I don’t know if it’s possible to be both humble and proud, but that’s the emotion I’m feeling today.”

The outlet quoted Provost as saying that part of her role is to close “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.”

Provost will be the organization’s 18th chief. “I may be the first female chief, but I am certain I will not be the last,” she said, addressing the fact that only 5 percent of Border Patrol officers are women — a statistic that hasn’t changed since she joined the agency in 1995. “I believe this will help,” she said.

According to her official bio on the U.S. Border Patrol’s website, Provost is the “baby” of her family. “My earliest memories were of my brother pounding on me because he didn’t have a younger brother,” she is quoted as saying. 

In school, Provost, a lover of Star Wars films, was a sports nut, running track and cross-country and playing basketball. However, she wound up majoring in business “because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.” 

One of Carla Provost’s challenges in her new role as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol will be attracting more women to positions of power. (Photo: Getty Images)

Per the government website, Provost was inspired to join the Border Patrol after completing an internship with the Topeka Police Department during her senior year of college at Kansas State University, which led to a postgrad job at Riley County Police Department.

I loved working with a local police department, but as a 20-something-year-old, I had always thought about what we perceived as the ‘sexy jobs’ — the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals,” she told the Los Angeles Times Thursday. “Fortunately, when I was an intern in Topeka, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the Marshals and really began considering a career outside local law enforcement.”

According to the U.S. Border Patrol website, Provost was “living paycheck to paycheck” when a friend mentioned that the Border Patrol was hiring. However, she got rejected by the agency on three different occasions. One year after finally landing a GS-7 position (a step above entry level) in Douglas, Ariz., “I swore I would never leave the Border Patrol.”

“You’re working long hours, often by yourself, day and night,” she told the government website. “You’re out in the desert and you can come across armed smugglers at any given time, without backup, 20 minutes or more away from any assistance.”

Provost says the country needs to build a wall. (Photo: Getty Images)

Yet Provost insists that her job makes no concessions for her sex. “In my experience, when it comes to the job and mission, there is no difference in the expectations between female agents and male agents — we’re all Border Patrol agents,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re all expected to do the same job, man or woman. And the agents I’ve worked with over the years, what they care about is if you can do the job — will you be there for them when they need it? If you go out and do a good job, then you’re recognized for it.”

She stated, “I don’t necessarily want to be recognized because today I am the first female chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. I hope I’m recognized at the end of my tenure for the work that I did as a Border Patrol agent and ultimately, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.”

Provost, who says the U.S. does need to build a wall, also addressed Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which includes the practice of separating many families who have entered the country illegally.

“I want to be clear that at no time was the policy of the Border Patrol or [the Department of Homeland Security] to separate families,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The separation of families occurred only as a result of prosecution of a parent for illegally crossing the border. In my experience, I know that when there is a consequence for a crime committed, that the frequency of the crime decreases. Without consequences for breaking the law, people will just continue to break the law.

“This is why we stress that consequences matter,” Provost told the newspaper. “We are a law enforcement agency, we enforce the law and when we are able to do that, we see decreases in those violating that law.”

As Provost, a mother of one, explains in her bio, she feels strongly about achieving work-life balance, and that her staff leaves work on time. “If it’s not an emergency, the work will be here in the morning,” she reasons.

“Haley will be 13 this August and she is an amazing child,” Provost remarked of her daughter. “She gets straight As without anyone pushing her, and she sings and loves music and theater. She is an independent, driven, and determined only child.”

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