Progreso Lakes, which is located in Hidalgo County, Texas, has a population of about 266. This small town is part of the metropolitan areas of McAllen-Edinburg-Mission and Reynosa-McAllen.
Progreso Lakes shares a United States-Mexico border with the Mexican city of Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas in the Rio Bravo municipality. The Progreso-Nuevo International Bridge, which connects the city of Progreso Lakes with Nuevo Progreso, is a port of entry and supports many border patrol jobs with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
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The Department of Homeland Security reported that about 340,250 illegal immigrants were apprehended in December 2011 in the United States, compared to about 463,000 in 2010. Along the southwest border there were 327,580 apprehensions during that time, with about 119,000 of them occurring in Texas.
Border Patrol Job Requirements in Progreso Lakes
CBP officers in the Southwest Sector, which includes Progreso Lakes, have steadily increased in the past three years:
- FY2009: 17,535
- FY2010: 17,535
- FY2011: 18,506
The United States Border Patrol is part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security. The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, have changed the scope of the Border Patrol to include detecting, apprehending and deterring terrorists and terroristic activity along our nation’s borders. The Border Patrol, along with other law enforcement officials, helps maintain the borders and facilitate the flow of legal immigration, while deterring illegal immigrants and contraband.
Border Patrol agents at ports of entry such as the Progreso Lakes port of entry are responsible for handling any port-related operations. The Progreso Lakes port of entry is just one of 329 official ports of entry in the United States. These professionals enforce import and export laws and regulations and perform agricultural inspections. Border Patrol agent jobs are both exciting and challenging, as they may involve everything from maintaining surveillance to observing traffic activities as to prevent smuggling activities.
All Border Patrol candidates must: pass a drug test; meet specific medical requirements; pass a fitness test; pass a background check, which includes credit and criminal history checks; and pass a polygraph test.
Key requirements for a Border Patrol job at the Progreso Lakes Port of Entry include:
- U.S. citizenship
- U.S. resident for at least 3 years
- Valid driver’s license
- No conviction of domestic violence
- No more than 40 years of age
- Spanish language skills
Border patrol agents are generally hired at the GL-5 ($38,619), GL-7 ($43,964) or GL-9 ($49,029) level, depending on education and experience. All Border Patrol jobs include a federal government benefits package that includes life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, and a 401-K savings plan.
Progresso Lakes Port of Entry
The Progreso-Nuevo International Bridge is a U.S. port of entry that is authorized to accept merchandise, collect duties, and enforce a number of customs and navigation laws. The Progreso Port of Entry administration building accommodates expanded immigration services and inspection processes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Progresso-Nuevo International Bridge includes covered walkways and four lanes of traffic in both directions. There is also an adjacent, two-lane bridge for commercial truck traffic. Although operational since 1952, this port of entry did not experience a marked increase in traffic since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Due to the importance of this port of entry, the Texas Department of Transportation has invested more than $10 million from 1993 to 1997 and an additional $5 million between 1998 and 1999 to accommodate additional lanes of traffic. A new bridge was constructed in 2003. The Progresso-Nuevo International Bridge accommodates about 1.25 million pedestrians and one million cars every year.