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Find a Career With the U.S. Border Patrol

Find a Career With the U.S. Border Patrol

Geoffrey Fox / Monster.com

July 12, 2008

The US Border Patrol offers a fast-paced, challenging law enforcement career in which fluency in Spanish is a definite advantage. Now part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Border Patrol is responsible for patrolling all 6,000 miles of the US land borders and 2,000 miles of coast around Florida and Puerto Rico. Its greatest focus, however, is on the border with Mexico, where economic conditions in that country and elsewhere have increased the pressure and violence of illegal immigration and smuggling.

Despite the dangers, Héctor Escamilla and Ramón Rojas, two Mexican American Border Patrol workers, speak passionately about their jobs. Escamilla, a 16-year veteran of the agency and now special operations supervisor in McAllen, Texas, says he was initially drawn by the opportunity to serve on “the front line of national defense” and got hooked on the ruggedness of what he calls “frontier-type work.”

But to launch a Border Patrol career, you’ll need to take some practical steps to prepare for the challenges ahead.


How to Join


Today, recruits who pass the entrance exam are sent to the Border Patrol Academy, either in Brunswick, Georgia, or the satellite facility in Charleston, South Carolina, where they undergo a 21-week program that focuses on military discipline with training in law, firearms, driving (a big part of the job in rough terrain) and Spanish, which is required of all agents.

While in the academy, the new agent receives full base pay at the GS-5 level, starting at around $25,000 per year, with step increases over time. After seven months, the new agent takes an exam to move up to GS-7, a year later to GS-9, and a year after that to GS-11, where base salary is generally $50,000 or more, depending on the area and the individual’s step within each grade. Bonuses and overtime pay can bring that up considerably.

An insider’s perspective might help you decide whether the risks and rewards balance out.


A Day on the Job


“Usually you’re with a partner at night, but in the daytime you’ll go out alone. And people will pop rounds at you from a distance,” says Escamilla with a laugh. But, he says, the situation is worse in Tucson.

Rojas, training manager for the Border Patrol in Tucson, points out that it’s “the roughest sector in the Border Patrol now.”

“San Diego has pretty much shut down” due to intense patrolling, thus diverting activity to Arizona, says Rojas. Agents patrol their 280 miles of desert border on horseback, in Suburbans, on dirt bikes, and, in urban areas, bicycles.

“We get armed encounters seven or eight times out of 10,” says Rojas. That means that the agents find a weapon, whether a knife or a gun.

“We find 2,000 or 3,000-pound loads of marijuana regularly,” Escamilla says, as well as other merchandise. But the biggest smuggling business is people. Though most are Mexicans and Central Americans, agents also find large numbers of Middle Eastern people and Asians trying to get across.

“It’s not uncommon to come onto a group of 20 to 30 people,” he says. “Ninety percent are humble people, just trying to make a better life for themselves.” But the others include drug smugglers and other criminals, sometimes in fake Mexican federal police uniforms, and they may be armed.


Cultural Issues


How do they feel about stopping so many Hispanics/Latinos who are just trying to find a better life?

Escamilla thinks he is doing them a service by helping them safely return to their home country.

Rojas agrees. “How I rationalize the feeling,” he says, is that he is protecting “a lot of people who get jobs [in the US] and don’t get paid. I see it as helping them out.”


Is It Worth It?


Every morning a Border Patrol agent asks himself, “Am I going to make it today?” It’s a question Escamilla embraces. “Every day out in the field is an adventure. It’s a fun job,” he says.

For more information on careers in the United States Border Patrol, visit the US Customs & Border Protection Web site.


See the original article at monster.com.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Lionel

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I beleive in the customs and laws of this country, having served in the Navy for three years with two over-seas assignment, the basic military training was instilled in my charater to this day. I am a disabled veteran with a right leg below-the-knee amputation, which does hamper only my ability to run at a very fast past, but my commitment to duty has not been deterred. I believe that with the proper training I could be an asset to your team.

  • Redneck_flag_max50

    Jcarlile81

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I did 10yrs in the USAF as Security Forces when I applied for the Border Patrol. I went down to Arlington Texas to take my exam. I talked with the procters, there were 150 people scheduled to take the test, only 48 showed!!! I figured I was a shoe in due to my military experiance in dealing with all types of people. Out of those 48, less than 5 made it!!! I know of 2 for a fact, I was not one of them! Those tests are not real hard, just different. the first part was a logical reasoning test, everyones reasoning is different so you have to think like they want you to. All in all I would take them over for a job like BP, I think it would be fun adn interesting.

  • L_358176c11dd9f95520045a2cd006f123_max50

    Davidcruz49

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Where can I apply for the border Patrol entrance exam?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Maraj

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    "I am 42, just about to eclipse 22 years in the USAF as a Security Forces MSgt as of 2005. I have 20 years with Nuclear Security and know those prceedures quite well. I have many deployements and a recent one to Iraq as the unit Operations Superintendent. We did excellent through 13 different rocket attacks over our time and sustained many advancements in security our predicessors were unable to attend to and emplace. I have had many great and sad leaders and have taken from each what I hope to apply daily towards mentoring my troops/sgts and move forward into the future. I wanted to go 30 years and make Chief Master Sgt but feel this is not possible now. Moving into a Homeland Sec job or something to that angle does sound interesting. I have 10 years of tactics/leading/navigation/weapons competition at the world level and can outshoot 95% of my unit on any weapon just about however I have not been in that world of competition for 6 years. Still in my semiannual weapons qual shooting I have top scores every time. Pride thing to keep up on my skills, not to mention running and other PT type activities."

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    newson_newson

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I'm 46 years old, a Iraqi veteran and still enlisted in the Ohio National Guard will I be considered for a job as a border patrol agent

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Odie

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    This job is a good job but it is not for every one. The conditions are harsh and you will almost certainly be stationed in a remote area near the southern border. Once you do some time at the southern Border then you wil have the option of requesting the northern border. For those looking for experience in Federal Law Enforcement, joining the Border Patrol might be good option to gain experience and then use it as a stepping stone to advance to another agency. For more information visit http://www.usborderpatrol.gov/index.html

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    glassman

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I WOULD LIKE TO KEEP HONEST HARD WORKING LEGAL WORKERS HERE AND STOP ILLEGALS OUT OF MY COUNTRY.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ThePetStore

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Rojas, what is meant by "a lot of people .... don't get paid"? Do you mean ethnics who get in to the U.S. illegally? It is just a little vague, that's all.

    ThePetStore

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tammtams92646

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    PEOPLE CRACK ME UP.THIS IS'NT A GAME JOB OR OH I WANT TO PLAY WITH GUNS COOL WHAT KIND DO YOU HAVE .THIS IS A JOB TO KEEP OUT POEPLE WHO WANT TO NOT PAY TAXES AND TO TAKE JOBS THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONG TO THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY.SO, IF THEY WANT TO BE A CITIZEN THEN TAKE THE TEST AND PASS THEN YOU PAY TAXES AND PAY FOR BENEFITS.THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF BORDER PATROL.TO STOP THE FREE RIDES!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    chocoholic5

    almost 6 years ago

    18 comments

    The Dates of My military service are in the early 70 up to Bicentenial year so I ask this question can I go into doing "Northern border" herer in Michigan or else Wyoming even the wet wet Washington /Peuget sound ? Would like the opportunity to help prevent the Illegal drug smuggler/ people slavery which is coming from China still!!!

  • Sda_max50

    Quincy

    almost 6 years ago

    138 comments

    Readness: stand, be there for your country , your country is your future, not all immigrants are health to your country you must be knowledgable enough to detect transparence of all immigrants. extra ordinary consciousness of immigrant application detection is required to measure level of terorrism threats to your future, (your country)

  • Bald-eagle-head_max50

    McConnell

    about 6 years ago

    354 comments

    Mchellonme - what type of chance do you think we should give people who want to immigrate? Should we try to make the requirements more transparent? Or start accepting more applications?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Mchellonme

    about 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I feel that everyone should be given a chance, via legal means. Illegal immigration is just that, ILLEGAL!

  • Eagle1_max50

    skelly5950

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    this would be a heads up job I would love to get into it where do I start and those who are currently doing the job awesome keep up the good work and above all stay safe. Navy veteran..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jmosher

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    would like to be hired for the border patrol

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