U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operates its own school for newly hired and returning Border Patrol Agents. The original Border Patrol Academy was discontinued and replaced by the CBP Officer Basic Training Program. The original 55 day training program has been revamped to a longer program that most trainees consider much more challenging.
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The CBP Border Patrol Academy provides the initial training program for entering Agents with course topics that include Operations, Firearms, Physical Techniques, Driver Training and the Spanish Language. This training program is considered one of the most rigorous in all of law enforcement, not only for the physical demands that are placed upon the trainee, but also the academic requirements that must be fulfilled.
Border Patrol Operations Courses
The Operations portion of the Border Patrol Agent training regimen consists of five courses that introduce trainees to the legal and regulatory framework that supports CBP operations. In order to successfully complete the training program, students must obtain a 70 percent average among all five courses.
Immigration Law: (68 hours) Students learn how to classify aliens under the federal government’s immigration status system. They also gain proficiency with the detection and identification of immigration law violations and learn how to respond to such violations.
Nationality Law: (24 hours) This course provides the basics on how to tell if an individual is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or an alien. These methods have been developed through decades of field experience with respect to legislative stipulations and judicial testing.
Applied Authority: (44 hours) Trainees learn to recognize immigration law violations and how to respond to both common and unusual circumstances. Trainees will learn the appropriate legal actions and responsibilities under Department of Homeland Security policy and within the framework of federal law. A wide variety of laws, regulations and court cases will be presented to students in order to provide a comprehensive basis for CBP operations.
- Part 1: Educates trainees about the operational structure of the U.S. government and the mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Part 2: Provides instruction in the basics of constitutional law. Students gain an understanding of how legal and policy issues relate to enforcement actions.
Operations 1 and 2: (51 hours) These linked courses provide students with situational instruction. Students will participate in simulations and hands-on practicums that introduce them to realistic scenarios and explain how CBP protocols dictate procedural or tactical responses.
- Introduction to CBP law: Provides trainees with a foundation in laws pertinent to CBP operations
- Chief Counsel Law Course: Students gain an understanding of how the Constitution limits possible actions, especially in the cases of searches, seizures and arrests.
- Courtroom Testimony: This serves as an introduction to providing testimony during legal proceedings.
Border Patrol Physical Training
The Physical Techniques program is designed to help candidates develop the strength, flexibility and stamina necessary to function as Border Patrol Agents. This training regimen is also designed to help Agents develop confidence in their abilities as well as awareness of their limitations. Finally, the Physical Techniques program strives to make each student dedicated to reaching and maintaining their peak physical condition.
In order to respond appropriately to the many situations that a Border Patrol Agent encounters, they must first be physically capable of enforcing their directions. This begins by developing stamina and agility through a variety of training methods. These skills will later be tested within a single class period.
- 220 yard dash must be completed within 46 seconds
- 1.5 mile run must be completed within 13 minutes
- Confidence course must be completed within 2.5 minutes
Border Patrol Firearms Training
As law enforcement officers, Border Patrol Agents are required to carry a firearm during their hours of employment. They should possess competency with a number of firearms including the Heckler & Koch P2000 Handgun, Colt Arms M4 Carbine Rifle, the Remington 870 Shotgun, and a taser. Trainees will be taught how to
- Shoot a variety of weapons safely on a firing range
- Survival shooting techniques
- Instinctive reaction shooting
- Judgment pistol shooting
- Quick point
Border Patrol Driver Training
Many of the duties associated with immigration law enforcement require Border Patrol Agents to operate motor vehicles through the wilderness and other extreme conditions. In order to maximize safety for the Agent and others, they are required to complete the Driver Training Program, which includes topics on:
- Van or Utility Vehicle Operation
- Emergency Response
- Skid Control
These introductory courses must be successfully completed in order to obtain training in the more advanced skills related to:
- Low and High Risk Vehicle Stops
- Night Driving
- Off-Road Driving
- SUV and Van Evasive Driving
Border Patrol Spanish TBLT Program
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a requirement that is unique among federal law enforcement agencies: Spanish language proficiency. Because so many of the duties of a Border Patrol Agent relate to nationals originating in Spanish speaking countries, CBP has enacted this requirement for all field personnel.
The Spanish Task-Based Language Training program is an 8-week course that provides trainees with the fundamentals of Spanish as it relates to the law enforcement responsibilities of Agents. Border Patrol Agents must obtain the ability to understand native Spanish speakers as well as provide instructions relevant to mission operations. This intensive training program utilizes the latest methodologies to help newcomers to the Spanish Language gain proficiency in order to safely and effectively conduct operations in the field.
Border Patrol Civilian Academy
This new six part course is available to non-Border Patrol personnel who wish to gain an understanding of the CBP’s mission, tasks and technology. First offered in January 2013, allowed a handful of civilians to interact with CBP executives, learn about the agency’s objectives, and experience first-hand the techniques that CBP personnel utilize in the field. These civilians were allowed to tour CBP facilities and view weapons, equipment vehicles.