The northern state of Idaho shares a roughly 45-mile-long border with British Columbia, Canada. Idaho is part of the Spokane sector of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which had 257 agents in 2011 who apprehended 293 illegal immigrants and confiscated 286.45 pounds of marijuana and 71.62 pounds of cocaine.
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CBP has been called one of the most complex components of the Department of Homeland Security. The CBP’s primary objective is to keep terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. They are also responsible for enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including drug and immigration laws, and preventing illegal immigrants, narcotics, or other smuggled goods from entering the country. CBP agents are expected to faithfully fulfill these duties while facilitating legal travel and trade.
CBP Sites in Idaho
The sector station in Idaho is on the second floor of the Bonner’s Ferry post office. The town of 2,543 residents (2010 census) lies on the banks of the Kootenai River 30 miles from the Canadian border. The CBP agents stationed in Bonner’s Ferry cover territory that extends from the Priest River in the northwest to the Yaak Mountains in the west.
Idaho also has three CBP ports of entry:
- Boise – Idaho’s capital and largest city holds the state’s major airport.
- Eastport – located on the Canadian border opposite Kingsgate, B.C.
- Porthill – unincorporated area near the Canadian border where State Hwy. 1 turns into the British Columbia Highway.
Idaho’s Native American Citizens
A 2012 CBP news release reported that Idaho’s Kootenai Tribe and the CBP had signed an agreement making the Kootenai Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC) an acceptable document for entering the U.S. through a land or sea port of entry. Kootenai live in both the U.S. and Canada and frequently traverse the border.
Border Patrol Job Requirements in Idaho
Applicants for Border Patrol jobs and U.S. Customs careers must be U.S. citizens under the age of 40 (unless claiming veteran preference), hold a valid driver’s license, and speak Spanish or be able to learn it. They must pass a medical exam, fitness assessment, drug test, background investigation, written test and structured interview. Desired personal characteristics include patience, a cool temperament and the ability to exercise thoughtful judgment. Those who satisfy these requirements must attend a rigorous, 58-day paid training in New Mexico. Training courses include the following subjects:
- Border patrol operations
- Defensive Tactics
- Immigration, Criminal and Constitutional Law
- Report Writing
- Care/Use of Firearms/Marksmanship
- Contraband Detection
- Ethics/Proper Conduct
Border Patrol Salaries in Idaho
New recruits are assigned to a duty station for a one-year probationary period during which their suitability for service is rated. An examination is given after six-and-a-half months of service and failure to pass is grounds for separation.
Depending on education and experience, new recruits are given an entry level annual salary of GL5-$38,619, GL7-$43,764, or GL9-$49,029. Promotions are possible after the trial period. There are also ample opportunities for overtime, a $1,500/year uniform allowance and federal government benefits.