Border patrol agents face unique challenges in San Diego. According to Reuters news service, attempts to smuggle illegal immigrants, drugs and contraband into the US via water have increased in the past five years, spurring the need for more border patrol jobs to be created in the area.
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This sector includes 60 miles of land border and 931 miles of coastal border from California’s border with Mexico north to Oregon. While coastal arrests have tripled in the past five years, land arrests have dropped, causing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assign more Border Patrol Agents to the San Diego sector.
Border Patrol personnel who choose to work in the San Diego sector will encounter a beautiful work environment. Coastal beaches and vast mesas leading to mountains, desert and canyons are all encompassed within this sector, spanning 56,831 square miles. Although San Diego is one of the smallest sectors of the CBP, it is also one of the busiest, with two of Mexico’s most populated cities (Tijuana and Tecate, Baja California) lying directly to the south of San Diego. Border patrol agents and other employees have reduced illegal immigration levels in the San Diego sector by 75 percent from their highs in the early 1990s.
Border Crimes in San Diego, California
Border Patrol employees in San Diego do more than just apprehend persons and goods illegally trying to enter the United States. The following statistics demonstrate how crimes have changed in the San Diego sector over the past five years:
- In 2008, crimes in the San Diego sector included:
- 230 apprehensions of persons along the coast illegally trying to enter the U.S.
- 162,000 arrests on land of persons trying to illegally enter the U.S.
- 33 vessels seized
- No drugs were recovered that year by Border Patrol employees
- In 2011 and 2012, crimes in the sector included:
- 1300 apprehensions of persons along the coast illegally trying to enter the U.S.
- For the first 10 months of 2012, 26,000 persons were arrested on land for illegally trying to enter the U.S.
- 200 vessels seized
- 135,000 pounds of drugs were recovered by Border Patrol employees
While arrests at sea have increased, land arrests have decreased as the border has been made more secure through additions of stronger border fences, sensors, cameras and more patrol agents.
Border Crossings in San Diego, California
There are currently eight border crossing stations within the San Diego sector. They include:
- Imperial Beach Station
- Boulevard Station
- San Clemente Station
- Brown Field Station
- Murrieta Station
- Campo Station
- El Cajon Station
- Chula Vista Station
Border Patrol Requirements and Job Titles in San Diego, California
San Diego’s singular placement and proximity to both land and water incursions has created some jobs that are unique to this sector. For more information on any of these positions, contact CBP’s Office of Public Affairs at (202)344-1770.
- Border Patrol Agent: Approximately 2600 Border Patrol Agents are employed in the San Diego Sector as of January 2013. In San Diego, Border Patrol agents carry out their enforcement duties on foot, by horseback, on mountain bikes, and using all-terrain vehicles. Requirements for this position include:
- U.S. citizenship
- Under age 40
- Possess valid driver’s license
- Pass background check, medical exam, fitness tests and drug tests
- San Diego Sector Border Patrol Tactical Unit –BORTAC (originally called REACT) – established in 1984, these agents provide immediate response for high-risk and emergency incidents. The position requires specialized training and skills including intelligence, serving high-risk warrants, maritime operations and precision marksmanship. Candidates must complete the month-long BORTAC Operator Training Course, consisting of:
- Extreme physical fitness testing including a 1.5 mile run
- Pistol qualification
- Six-mile ruck march with a weighted pack
- Treading water
After that, smaller group intense training occurs in:
- Small unit planning
- Advanced weapon skills
- Operation planning
- Air-mobile operations
- Defensive tactics
- Marine Interdiction Unit –established in 1992 and today led by the Office of Air & Marine of the CBP, Marine Interdiction Agents use air and marine forces to fight illegal immigration and terrorism. They patrol the waters in the sector (mainly the Pacific Ocean in this sector), conducting both overt and covert operations. They also provide maritime security at other events. Requirements of the job are the same as Border Patrol Agent requirements, with the addition of marine/law enforcement experience preferred, and a U.S. Coast Guard Marine License if you wish to qualify for a job with a higher pay grade.
- Border Patrol Search, Trauma & Rescue Team (BORSTAR) – established in 1998, BORSTAR is made of Border Patrol Agents with specialized training. Requirements include:
- Two years of experience as a Border Patrol Agent
- Five-week BORSTAR Academy training, in which you learn land and water rescue skills, search skills and air operations.
- Certification as a Basic Emergency Medical Technician
- Possible additional specialized training as a paramedic, rescue watercraft operator, or police safety diver
- Smuggling Interdiction Group (SIG) – established in 2005, SIG combines the enforcement units for smuggling interdiction, surveillance and investigation. You must be a Border Patrol Agent to become part of SIG. SIG works undercover, targeting human and drug-smuggling networks in the sector. You may have specialized training in air and/or water surveillance, weapons, and covert and overt surveillance.