Last month, the Border Patrol — the federal agency tasked with preventing terrorists and undocumented immigrants from entering the country — quietly elevated Carla Provost to deputy chief, making her the first woman to hold that role in the federal agency’s 92-year-history.
The Border Patrol has historically struggled to recruit female agents. The agency was created in 1924, but its first female agent didn’t join the force until 1975. Even today, the numbers are still low: they currently only have 1,026 women out of 23,000 total employees, a spokesperson told Motto. In 2014, the agency received a federal exemption and launched a year-long recruitment effort with the hopes of increasing the number of female agents within its ranks. That effort yielded 175 new female agents, the spokesperson said.
But now, a woman will command the mostly-male force. Motto spoke with Deputy Provost, who’s held a number of roles during her 20+ year tenure in the Patrol, about her new role, what it’s like to be a woman in the male-dominated agency and why she thinks the Border Patrol struggles to attract women.
How does it feel to be the first woman to hold the position of deputy chief in the Border Patrol’s 92-year-history?
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