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Duties of a Border Patrol Agent

Patrolling our nation’s borders and keeping the United States safe from undesirable aliens who want to smuggle dangerous items like drugs and weapons into our country is no easy task. This is why the border patrol agents of the Customs and Border Protection agency perform a variety of duties to enable them to fulfill their mandate. If you are interested in this kind of law enforcement career, here’s an overview of the duties that you are likely to perform as a border patrol agent:

Linewatch and Signcutting Operations. Linewatch may be popularized by Cuba Gooding, Jr. when he starred as a border patrol agent in the movie of the same title but what he did was essentially what a linewatching operation is all about. Conducted near international boundaries and coast lines, agents see to it that illegal entry and smuggling of aliens is prevented. Together with linewatching, border patrol agents also perform signcutting operations. This is when they check the natural terrain for any disturbances or alterations that will indicate the presence of or passage of people, animals, or vehicles.

Horse and Bike Patrol. Supporting linewatch operations are the horse and bike patrol units. In areas where the international boundary cannot be accessed by standard all-terrain vehicles, agents mount their horses or their bikes to patrol these boundaries. In the city, the bike patrol also supports the activities of agents conducting patrol operations.

Traffic Checkpoints. Because of the vastness and length of the borders of the U.S., there are still illegal migrants who can gain entry into the country at point in the border. In order to detect and apprehend them before they get further inland, border patrol agents also perform traffic checks on major highways that lead away from the border. These checkpoints are also conducted to prevent the entry of illegal narcotics.

Transportation Checks. Border patrol agents also conduct checks and inspections inside public transportation, especially those bound for the interior of the United States. They do this in buses, commercial aircrafts, passenger and freight trains, and marine vessels.

Marine Patrol. The Customs and Border Protection has over 109 boats in 16 sectors to do patrols on the coastal waterways of the United States and Puerto Rico and the interior waterways shared by the United States and Canada. From the decks of these blue-water crafts and inflatable-hull crafts, Marine Interdiction Agents performs border control operations, apprehending those who encroach in our territorial waters. Sometimes, they get engaged in high-speed pursuits in the dark of night and even during extreme weather conditions to catch those who want to smuggle goods and drugs into the United States through its waterways.

In the performance of these duties, border patrol agents can expect to find themselves in compromising situations where they have to chase illegal aliens and even get shot at. What makes their jobs even more dangerous is the fact that they do not only encounter illegal aliens who wish for a better life for themselves in Uncle Sam’s country, they also face drug smugglers, gang members, and even Mexican Army troops. In an attempt to rise to the hierarchy of their organizations, some gang members even kill border patrol agents. Reports of vehicles of border patrol agents being thrown with Molotov Cocktails are also a cause for concern. Of course, agents do not go to the field without receiving sufficient training from the Border Patrol Academy. They are also equipped with weapons and technology to protect themselves. But like any law enforcement job, there are always dangers associated with being an agent of the Customs and Border Protection agency. The reward lies in knowing that you are a vital part of the team that keeps the United States safe.

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