U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the federal government. In order to maintain such a large and skilled workforce, ICE compensates its employees with lucrative salaries, considerable potential for advancement and virtually unmatched professional benefits.
The majority of jobs in ICE can be differentiated according to their status as field or administrative jobs. The primary field officer careers include ICE Special Agent, Immigration Enforcement Officer, and Technical Enforcement Officer. More administrative positions include Management and Program Analyst, Mission Support Specialist and Investigative Assistant. ICE Intelligence Officers may be considered field officers in some divisions due to their long hours and extended availability, while others may designate them as administrative personnel for their roles primarily within ICE facilities.
ICE and the General Schedule Payment Hierarchy
Professionals in these careers are usually compensated according to the federal government’s General Schedule payment hierarchy. Within the GS system, each employee is assigned a pay grade upon entering federal employment. Using a system of promotions based upon seniority and performance, ICE personnel may advance their pay grade up to a set limit. Each pay grade contains ten steps that must successively obtained before promotion to the next highest pay grade. The entering and terminal pay grades for the major ICE jobs are as follows:
The pay grades that influence salaries ICE personnel are listed below for 2012.
Other Factors that Influence Salary
The GS salaries are only indicative of the base salaries. These salaries are often adjusted according to the cost of living in a given region. If the job is in a non-field position then it is also subject to typical guidelines for overtime. This typically includes 50 percent bonus in hourly wages for overtime (anything over 40 hours per week), 25 percent bonus for Sunday hours, and a 10 percent bonus for night shifts. Some careers that require long hours on a regular basis may be eligible for Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) pay which may range from a 10 to 25 percent bonus.
If the job is classified as a law enforcement position, then overtime does not pertain. Instead, federal law enforcement officers are provided Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) which is an additional 25 percent of the base salary plus COLA. LEAP is intended to compensate officers for the high risks, long hours and continual availability. Law enforcement personnel also have a separate set of guidelines for retirement; they may retire with full benefits at 20 to 25 years after hiring.