Grand Marais, MN is a small, rural town that is also located on major shipping routes because of its proximity to Lake Superior and a major trucking highway. The highway is located between the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and the major cargo hub of Thunder Bay in the Canadian province of Ontario, on its way to Canada’s largest metropolitan area, Toronto. The area of Lake Superior that is monitored by the Grand Marais border crossing station shares a border not only with Ontario, Canada, but also the states of Wisconsin and Michigan, which makes it one of the major maritime shipping hubs in the area.
Border patrol jobs at the Grand Marais border crossing station are few because the area is so rural, but they do offer the chance to perform and learn a variety of tasks, rather than one specialization. Most major border crossing stations will only require agents to perform one duty, but at the Grand Marais station, agents are required to perform many tasks and know all areas of the job.
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency places a large emphasis on cargo inspection at the Grand Marais station, providing training and education in this rather than placing the focus on drug trafficking and illegal immigration that agents would encounter at larger border crossing stations (such as the ones on the border between the United States of America and Mexico.)
Priorities at the Grand Marais Border Station
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the number of agents employed at Grand Marais has doubled from 7 agents to 14 agents. The number is expected to keep growing, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Here are some of the main positions offered to agents that meet the requirements at the station:
- Cargo Inspection Specialist: These border agents are responsible for inspecting and searching through cargo loads that are transported both via freight and ship. Agents are trained to look for suspicious cargo, identify mistakes in paper work and to make sure all cargo is in compliance with federal and international shipping and trade laws.
- Maritime Interdiction Agent: This border patrol job requires agents to monitor the waterways near Lake Superior in order to find people attempting to smuggle drugs and cross the border illegally.
- CBP Officer: CBP Officers are required to monitor the rural roads near the Canadian border in motor vehicles. Many times, the agents will drive around with the lights off in order to find illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.