Santa Teresa, N.M. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Santa Teresa Port Director Joanne Thale-Lembo was formally sworn into office this afternoon at CBP Field Operations change of command ceremony. Family, friends, colleagues and local dignitaries gathered as Thale-Lembo recited the oath of office during a ceremony at the Santa Teresa Country Club.
“It is an honor to be selected to lead and direct CBP operations at the Santa Teresa port of entry,” said Port Director Thale-Lembo. “The port plays an important role in the region and I look forward to the responsibility of providing leadership as the port continues to grow and expand to better serve the residents of New Mexico and northern Chihuahua.”
As port director, Thale-Lembo will direct operations and enforcement activities at the Santa Teresa port of entry as well as CBP operations at the Albuquerque International Airport. She will oversee CBP employees at these locations including CBP officers, Agriculture Specialists, Canine Enforcement Officers, and other personnel working in other disciplines.
Thale-Lembo will work to ensure that the agency’s primary mission of preventing terrorists or weapons of terror from entering the United States is accomplished on a daily basis. Ms. Thale-Lembo is also responsible for all immigration issues related to the admission and exclusion of people applying for entry into the United States. She also is responsible for customs and agriculture inspections at the ports of entry to ensure that all goods and people entering the United States do so in accordance with our laws and regulations, while ensuring that they are facilitated in their processing to support the global market place and the international tourism industries.
Thale-Lembo began her career with U. S. Customs and Border Protection (U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service) in August of 1993 as an inspector at the Pittsburgh international airport. She had also worked as an inspector in Calexico port the Seattle seaport. Thale-Lembo was promoted to Special Operations inspector in 2000 and she worked closely with the FBI as they screened and interviewed individuals in Pennsylvania and West Virginia after September 2011.
She was then assigned to represent CBP at the U.S. Embassy Attachés office in Ontario, Canada in 2005. The work there included northern border security and terrorist tracking pursuant to the U.S./Canadian Safe Third Party Agreement. Thale-Lembo was temporarily assigned to the CBP Admissibility Review Office and the CBP Field Operations Academy in 2005 before receiving a promotion to a supervisory and then chief CBPO in Savannah, Georgia. She was then selected as a Supervisory Course Developer/Instructor for the CBP Field Operations Academy (FOA) in Glynco, Georgia. In September 2009, she accepted the position of Branch Chief of the FOA Firearms Division. One year later, she took on the role of Acting Assistant Director overseeing the Firearms Division.
Thale-Lembo received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Penn State University and Robert Morris University. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is married and has one daughter.
CBP Field Operations in 2008 adopted formal change of command ceremonies as another way to unify the workforce and highlight the agency mission. Since its inception in March 2003, CBP has developed and implemented standards, policies and symbols to advance the internal and external recognition of the agency and to demonstrate the strides the agency has made as the guardians of the nation’s borders. The change of command ceremony is designed to meet those goals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.