Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agent

Oscar

Charleston, SC

Male, 31

Spent a bit over four years (2006-2010) serving as a Border Patrol Agent in Tucson Sector, AZ: the busiest sector in the country. Worked numerous positions, and spent the last year and a half operating/instructing ground radar installations. Duties included: field patrols, transport, processing, control room duties, transportation check, checkpoint operations, static watch duties, etc.

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Last Answer on November 08, 2016

Best Rated

is there any way to know about a family member that was cought crosing the border ?

Asked by brittany12 about 11 years ago

There is no release of information from a station or sector level.  An illegal immigrant is only kept in custody at a station for less than 24 hours (often not more than 12).  As a safety precaution we do not release information/names/locations of individuals in custody.

A person can contact the Mexican/Other consulate within 24-36 hours and they should keep a record of people returned to their country.  In the event that an illegal immigrant is sent to jail or prosecuted they will eventually get a chance to make a phone call/contact relatives etc. (like a normal incarcerated/prosecuted person).

 

Just how porous is the U.S. / Mexico border? What percentage of it would you estimate is monitored in some capacity for illegal aliens?

Asked by dan79 over 11 years ago

The U.S./Mexico international border is extremely porous. While on paper the entire border is monitored, the reality is that our capacity to deter/intercept all of the illegal traffic is mediocre at best. Judging by the traffic patterns I saw, I would estimate my station/sector's capability at perhaps 30% of the overall traffic is intercepted effectively.

Even if a Wall is infeasible, wouldn't cameras and motion sensors the entire length of the Mexican border be much easier and at least raise the rate of interceptions?

Asked by Bucknell about 11 years ago

We have a lot of the border under surveillance, but it's never enough.  Also the desert is an extremely diverse environment.  Dense brush, cliffs, outcroppings, washes (dry creekbeds), etc. make it very difficult to observe all of it.

Places with open expanses do rely on large networks of cameras.  All along the border we also have sensors or various types (magnetic, seismic etc.) to detect groups and vehicles.  However these don't always work, and are often set off by cattle or locals, or even BP Agents etc.

I worked for a bit over a year and a half in radar trucks which are fantastic.  However these are expensive, and we never had enough of them.  They were placed in high traffic areas.  They were extremely effective - moreso than any other tactic we used.

Also, it's very common for BP Agents to detect, sight, or even chase a group and not catch it.  So our detection numbers may be high, but actual apprehension numbers much lower.  It would not be uncommon to have more groups on my radar screen than I had assets to pursue.  You'd simply prioritize and catch as many as you could.

So, the theory is sound - but in practice is extremely difficult to monitor the entire border as it stands now.  Also, groups/cartel guys learn where the cameras are, and simply avoid them.  You do see more tunnels in areas which feature heavy camera presence.

How does official US Border Patrol feel about the private Minuteman militia who "safeguard" the border? Are they a welcome teammate, or a lunatic fringe group who does more harm than good?

Asked by Jax about 11 years ago

From an official standpoint, obviously the Border Patrol does not endorse or condone "vigilante" style groups like the Minutemen.  That being said, I don't mind them.  We were required to report them and confront them if we found them operating in our AOR.  This was rare though, as our sector was far too busy.  We had a lot of people who would call in and help us (even had a lady who erected a watchtower in her backyard).

I never viewed the Minutemen as a "lunatic fringe" group.  Most of the people are farmers/landowners or friends/relatives of them...people who are suffering at the hands of the border problem.

The stories of American citizens being forced to leave or sell their homes and land because of the flow of illegals/cartel members etc. is heartbreaking.  So, officialy -no we don't support them, but on a personal level none of us really cared.  We never had any citizens arrests etc.

Were you impressed with the caliber of people you worked with? Should the American public have confidence that US Border Patrol is competent and fair?

Asked by dan79 about 11 years ago

I was pretty impressed with the caliber of people in the Border Patrol.  The academy, while not extremely tough was tough enough to weed out the idiots.  There was a huge range of people in the Patrol.  A large portion of ex-military folks (ranging from simple 4-year in/outs up to PJ's, some older SF types, USMC Corpsmen etc.).

A smaller number of prior law enforcement types, and then the rest were normal people like myself with no particularly advantageous background (college grads and non-college grads).

The overwhelming amount of political correctness and red tape means that in most cases the Border Patrol is a bit "too fair".  Sometimes you need to cut the nonsense and get the job done, something that the agency itself hinders very often.  It's a very politcal job as you can imagine.  You'd be amazed how often we were subtly told to do our job...less well.

Like any job, and profession you do have a small number of idiots.  There seems to be a flawed public perception that all law enforcement agents/officers should be angellic beings of good who dole out divine justice etc.  Nope.  Agents were normal people too.  With overy 16,000 agents you definitely would have some bad apples.

There was a website active when I was serving called "Trust Betrayed" or something to that effect.  It was a website run by the agency highlighting agents and customs folks who had become criminals or had been caught breaking the law etc.  It happens.  Not often, but it's simple reality.  So, on the off chance that you run into that one dirtbag, your experience may be different than most.

As a whole, yes, the agency is competent and fair.

Is there a point where Border Patrol's jurisdiction ends and regular law enforcement's begins? I mean, at some point a crosser who evades US Border Patrol will be far enough North to just be IN the country and a problem for USCIS and not you, right?

Asked by apchick about 11 years ago

BP Agents have authority to apprehend illegal immigrants anywhere in the country.  However, special statutes and laws which allow us to set up traffic check-points, inspect items/people coming into the country, and stop vehicles for immigration purposes diminishes as you move further into the country.

If, for instance I was in Ohio and someone admitted to being an illegal immigrant, I could apprehend them.  This of course assumes I'm on duty and in uniform etc.  In this instance I would end up taking them to the nearest I.C.E. processing center.

Illegal is illegal. 

Is the opposition to building a giant wall the length of the border mostly economical ("we can't afford it"), pragmatic ("it wouldn't work") or political ("a wall is an antagonistic symbol of exclusion")?

Asked by Bucknell about 11 years ago

It's about 95% politics.  No party nor politician wants to be responsible for losing the Latin-American vote or ruffling the feathers of Mexico's government.  It would actually save us a lot of money in the long-run, given how much we spend on border security.