South Carolina, bordered by North Carolina and Georgia, extends from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean where its 187-mile coastline is dotted with sandy beaches. Although known for things like she-crab soup and the cobblestone streets of historic Charleston, South Carolina’s borders provide ample opportunity for the entry of terrorists, undocumented aliens or smugglers. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are the first to greet most visitors or cargo entering the state.
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The CBP, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, enforces import/export laws, regulations and policies. Agents also perform agricultural inspections to prevent the entrance of pests/diseases that could damage South Carolina crops, livestock, pets or the environment.
Functions of South Carolina Ports of Entry
A “Port of Entry” is a seaport, airport or land border at which CBP officers clear passengers, accept entries of merchandise, collect duties and enforce laws/regulations. User fee airports are small airfields that pay a fee for CBP officers to process passengers and cargo entering the U.S. from a foreign country. South Carolina ports of entry are:
- Charleston – a service port where all cargo processing functions are performed.
- Columbia – CBP agents at the capital city’s international airport provide cargo clearance for air shipments and administer landing rights for private/commercial aircraft from foreign countries.
- Georgetown – a full service seaport.
- Greenville-Spartanburg – international airport site where CBP agents handle entrance clearances for inbound passengers/cargo.
- Myrtle Beach – a small user fee airport.
Border Patrol Jobs and Salaries in South Carolina
South Carolina is part of the CBP’s Miami sector which employed 94 agents in 2011who apprehended 4,401 undocumented aliens and confiscated 564.05 pounds of marijuana and 10.5 pounds of cocaine.
The career outlook for border patrol agents/officers is good. On February 29, 2012, the CBP participated in Law Enforcement Day at the Citadel, Charleston’s famed military university founded in 1842. Students familiarized themselves with law enforcement careers by speaking with CBP officers and members of other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
South Carolina is unique in having a state legislated Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit that arrests and makes cases against illegal aliens suspected of committing crimes. Formed in June, 2012, the unit operates statewide and has its own insignia, uniforms and cars.
According to the CBP, new border patrol agents earn $38,619 to $49,029 the first year depending on experience and education. Overtime opportunities can increase that amount up to 25 percent. Agents also receive a $1,500 uniform allowance and federal employee benefits. The job search website, “Indeed.com,” lists the average salary of CBP agents in Charleston at $89,000/year.
South Carolinians interested in a career with the CBP can call a Miami sector recruiter at 1-866-318-9151 or go to the website firstname.lastname@example.org/.