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New border patrol agent recruits have to undergo training and pass all the requirements at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico before they are sent to their posts. They have to stay in residence for 58 days so they can receive their basic law enforcement training consisting of border patrol operations courses; firearms training; physical techniques; driver training; and Spanish Task-Based Language Training Program.
Courses that new recruits will be taught in Academy law is comprised of Nationality Law; Immigration Law; Applied Authority; and Operations 1 and Operations 2. In all these courses, you will need to get an average of 70 percent (minimum) in order to pass. Lessons in Applied Authority are important since it teaches students how to spot violations of Federal criminal statutes and what actions to take to address it. In Operations, interns are given practical labs where they are asked to do hands-on training to better learn their lessons.
Like other law enforcers, border patrol agents are authorized to use weapons. To ensure that they stay safe around firearms, they will undergo firearms training in the Academy. Classroom and range practice sessions for the Heckler & Koch P2000 Handgun; Remington 870 Shotgun; and the Colt Arms M4 Carbine Rifle. Survival shooting techniques, judgment pistol shooting, quick point, and instinctive reaction shooting are covered in these sessions.
The work of a border patrol agent is physically demanding and thus, a Physical Techniques Program is part of the curriculum. The activities aim to prepare interns to perform the duties of a border patrol agent working in the field environment; physically train them to react effectively to physically dangerous situations so that injury is minimized; psychologically condition new agents to have confidence in their physical abilities while being aware of their own physical limitations; and instill in them the importance of being physically fit. For the final test, the interns must pass three timed events to pass the physical test. These are the 1.5 Mile Run which must be completed in no more than 13 minutes; Confidence Course which must be done in no more than 2.5 minutes; and the 220 Yard Dash which must be completed in 46 seconds.
Chasing illegal entrants to the U.S. borders is part and parcel of the job of a border patrol agent. Thus, they should be proficient in the use of their vehicles when such adrenaline-pumping events occur. To teach new recruits to become effective drivers, the Academy’s Driver Training Department gives instruction on Van/Utility Vehicle Operation; Skid Control; and Emergency Response. After successfully completing the tests for these lessons, interns will be taught Pursuit Driving; Low-Risk and High-Risk Vehicle Stops; Night Driving; 4×4 Off Road Driving; and SUV/Van Evasive Driving.
Research has shown that more than 90 percent of the more than one million undocumented aliens caught by border patrol agents speak only Spanish. Thus, all new agent recruits must be able to do so. The Spanish Task-Based Language Training program runs for 8 weeks. The moment new recruits arrive at the Academy, they are tested to determine their proficiency. Those who can speak the language will start Post Academy Training while those that can’t undergo the Spanish TBLT Program.