The United States Border Patrol serves as the front line of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This critical division within the Department of Homeland Security is essential to securing the country’s land, sea and air borders from unlawful intrusion by terrorists, smugglers and undocumented aliens.
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Originally established in 1924, the U.S. Border Patrol has taken on new significance since the September 11, 2001 attacks. In response, the U.S. Border Patrol added new divisions of Air and Marine and expanded its interdiction responsibilities on the southern and northern borders of the United States.
Border Patrol Regional Sectors
Border Patrol Career Paths
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been increasing its border patrol duties in recent years, and the agency is growing fast. There were only about 10,000 agents in 2002, whereas now the agency boasts a Border Patrol force made up of more than 20,000 dedicated men and women, the largest law enforcement task force within the federal government. Within the U.S. Border Patrol there are a variety of careers available:
Border Patrol Agent — Officers in this position serve in the front lines of America’s defense. They collaborate closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies as well as intelligence organizations to detect and prevent unauthorized activity along America’s borders and shores. They are also engaged with foreign governments to identify and capture terrorists, smugglers and other criminals who may wish to continue their dangerous activities within the United States. This challenging occupation may include making arrests, detaining possible terrorists or dangerous collaborators, preventing unlawful border crossings by illegal aliens, coordinating counter intrusion activities and providing intelligence to U.S. security agencies. Read more…
Air Interdiction Agent — The air interdiction agent provides valuable intelligence along the borders with Mexico and Canada through aerial reconnaissance. These agents use planes and drones to monitor, intercept and track possible intruders, contraband and weaponry through arrival zones. With more than 1,200 officers and professionals in this field along with 258 aircraft including Black Hawk helicopters, C-210, C-12 and P-3 Orion aircraft, the air interdiction division of US Customs and Border Protection is a critical component of America’s defense strategy. These forces operate along all of the land borders between the United States and its neighbors, as well as along the southern and Caribbean shores. Read more…
Marine Interdiction Agent — Marine interdiction agents provide essential defense of America along its shore lines on the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes and major water ways. Marine interdiction agents command a wide variety of more than 300 marine vessels while monitoring activities in American waters. These professionals use the latest technologies in high speed boats, sonar and radar, and satellite imagery to identify, track and capture terrorists and criminals that seek entry to the United States. Read more…
Field Canine Coordinator – These law enforcement officers are teamed with a canine in order to provide specialized mission services. These services may include narcotics detection, chemical weapons detection, suspect tracking or identification, cadaver location and bomb detection. Field canine coordinators may often use one or more canine units in rough terrain to pursue fugitives and suspects. Read more…
Intelligence Research Specialist – Intelligence research specialists provide much of the analyses and insights that intelligence officers utilize to develop anti-terrorism, drug interdiction, and law enforcement strategies. These analysts evaluate data from a wide variety of intelligence sources to produce a current picture of emerging and potential threats to the country, its population or assets. Intelligence research specialists comb vast amounts of chatter, leads, electronic data, and human intel to determine the most effective responses to mounting risks. Read more…