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

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 over 6 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.

Is there tension between you and local cops or other federal agencies about whose jurisdiction something is? Is it ever like on TV where some captain shows up and bellows "Alright this is MY investigation now, get all of these mall cops outta here!"

Asked by Toranna. over 6 years ago

There was a lot of tension between the local indian tribal police and ourselves.  The Tohono O'Odham indian police were often very shady (and caught doing rather suspicious things).  The entire reservation was corrupt/dirty so these police often had family members who were into illegal stuff as well.

You'd occasionally catch the police driving at night in the desert, lights out - well beyond their patrol areas.  They'd invent some story about what they were doing etc.  Likewise they would attempt to pull over BP vehicles when we were tailing suspicious vehicles etc.  It was always an interesting time with them.

The only issues we had with local deputies or police was simply due to manpower.  They'd get mad at us when we didn't have enough agents to respond to their immigration issues, and we'd get mad when they wouldn't come pick up warrants because we were too far away from them etc.  It was never harsh, just frustrating from both ends.

Sheriff Joe (Maricopa County Sheriff) was always a cool cat.  I actually liked that he openly berated DHS etc. for not doing our job better.  He would bring news cameras etc. with him when he turned over tons of illegal immigrants to the local I.C.E. office who didn't want to process them etc.  He really gets stuff done, and doesn't take nonsense from anyone.

There is so much criminal traffic out in AZ that all LEO's pretty much gel together when the proverbial feces hit the wind oscillator.  You'd always stop to back up local PD, DPS guys, or Sheriff's Deputies etc.  They would likewise stop and check on you.

I was involved in a 120-mile pursuit one time which involved: BP Agents from two stations, indian police, sheriff's deputies, sheriff's drug task force, DPS, and two local police departments.  It got downright confusing, but we got the vehicle.  In short, we never had the silly TV show drama.

Can you still join the Border Patrol if you have tattoos or is it not allowed?Thank you for your time!

Asked by Sam about 6 years ago

Tattoos are not a concern, unless you have obscenities or graphic content displayed on your neck/face/hands etc.  If you have "normal" tattoos which are reasonable it is not a problem.

Oh, and did you see someone tried to blow up Sheriff Joe last week?? I'd imagine he has a lot of enemies by now!

Asked by brig4 over 6 years ago

We could do with a lot more Sheriff Joes in this world.  He is a dying breed.  For someone that people complain about a lot, he's been in office now for what 15-20 years and keeps getting re-elected?  He's doing his job (a difficult one at that).  The modern world seems to hate people with real work ethic or real opinions/values.

I applaud the guy.  He has way too many enemies...that, if anyting, proves he's doing a hell of a job.

Was it depressing that the border was such a revolving door? Did you feel like you were making a difference when a new crop of illegals would show up every day?

Asked by Isaac about 6 years ago

Yep, very depressing and stressful.  Living in AZ it's more than obvious we're not making much of a difference.  From Phoenix to the border the state has been flooded with illegal immigrants.  You'd see hundreds daily just on the drive in to work.  So, short answer - no I did not feel like we were making much of a difference.

It was also very obvious from the agency perspective that there was no genuine desire to effect real change.  The USBP is about 50% just a dog and pony show.  But we all knew that.  We busted our butts, worked hard - but at the end of the day we knew the government etc. was not genuinely serious about "closing the border".

I'm Canadian it's aggravating that I'M ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS WHO PLAYS BY THE RULES, and yet all that ensures is that I'm the easiest guy for CBP to hassle because there's a perfect record of all my activity. Is that unfairness understood at USCIS?

Asked by Blackhead1 over 6 years ago

I have no experience on the Northern border so I can't really answer this question.  I also don't understand what you mean by "for CBP to hassle...".  If by hassle you mean they inspect you etc. when you come across - that's simply normal.  I can't speak for what your definition of hassle is.  As a LEO, I have seen plenty of people who get outrageously upset when we're simply doing our job.

Speaking from a Southern border perspective, sure everyone who enters the U.S. legally through a POE is recorded in some fashion.

For the record USCIS no longer exists.  The new layout is now DHS (Department of Homeland Security), subset CBP (Customs and Border Protection), and then USBP (United States Border Patrol).  DHS also controls I.C.E., etc.  The old USCIS under the Department of Justice is no more.

I am sorry I can't give you a better answer - I don't know what "hassles" you're going through or why.  From a general perspective 9/11 and the huge illegal immigrant problem will undoubtedly put more restrictions, hassles, and policies through which will make it much more aggravating/difficult for people who are doing it right and legally.  This is similar to many other things in law enforcement.  The bad apples (criminals) ruin it for normal people on a daily basis.

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 6 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.