CBP Officer

CBP Officer


7 Years Experience

SouthWest, US

Male, 25

I am a U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officer on the southwest border between Mexico and the United States. I know the ins and outs of the job as seen on TV/News and things intentionally hidden from the media! There's more to this job than "Anything to declare?" I dont know all but I'll do my best to answer any questions you have! All answers are my opinion, and my opinion only!

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206 Questions


Last Answer on April 22, 2019

Best Rated

Why did you (or do people in general) opt for a career in Border Protection rather than in more traditional law enforcement (aka cops)?

Asked by CS1981 over 4 years ago

I've discussed with Co workers this very topic over the years, and these are the top reasons that I gathered from them, which I also completely agree with as well.

In no particular order:1. Job security. The federal government always pays it's employees and always keeps them employed. It's very rare that a government shutdown happens, but after its all over we still get our paycheck. I have a lot of local cop friends who get nervous about pay cuts and fear being given a pink slip, especially those in small towns.

2. Pay. We are one of the highest, if not THE highest paid, law enforcement agency in the country. After 3 to 4 years, base pay is $75k. With overtime and differentials that adds to about $120k. That's just 4 years on the job..

3. Location. So yea the first few years might suck on the land border, but once you gain some seniority there's many beautiful places around the world where u can temporarily or permanently move to. Places like Dubai, Hawaii, the Bahamas, England, Ireland, Aruba.

I know you have to declare more than $10K when crossing the border, but are agents allowed to seize it anyway if they're suspicious? And do travelers have to prove to YOU that it's not dirty money? (Having to prove a negative is kinda crazy.)

Asked by 10K over 4 years ago

We cannot seize money under suspicion alone, unless you blatantly tell us the money your bringing is illegally earned. The only time your money gets seized (after you declared it) is if you have been under investigation for a while and Agents have gathered enough intelligence and evidence to provide to the courts to make an arrest. This is a long processes and the majority of criminals who declare money dont even know we have intel on them.

So no, you dont have to prove the money is not dirty. If your money is getting seized even after you declared it, at that point its too late.

If you say that job security is really good, just what would constitute a fireable offense? They never downsize based solely on budget?

Asked by Darryl over 4 years ago

There's a lot of things that can get you fired, but its much much MUCH less than a non federal job. Doing anything ILLEGAL (misdemeanor or felony) can get you fired. If you get a DUI and have a good lawyer you MIGHT be able to keep your job. Aiding in the illegal importation of illegal contraband and aliens WILL get you fired.

Your right, they NEVER downsize based on budget. If budget is an issue, they will cut back on overtime or equipment but NEVER removing employees. The only time there will be a downsize is if an entire agency or department gets disbanded. IF that happens, all the employees are first in line for the next available job in any federal government agency if they qualify for the position.

What's the most creative way you've caught someone trying to sneak in drugs?

Asked by bobby over 4 years ago

I think the most creative way I've personally seen was crystal meth hidden inside kinder eggs.

Do CBP officers talk politics or debate immigration reform at work, or is that kind of talk off-limits?

Asked by Frenchie over 4 years ago

Politics and Immigration reform are our top topics for the break room. This talk is "supposed" to be off limits in public anyway.

Lived in US, 5 years ago. Overstayed my VISA by a few days, and voluntarily left. I tried to come back, they said I needed a new VISA. Was a Sri-Lankan then, now have a Bermuda Passport. Do you think they I will be stopped frm entering.

Asked by Rahix over 3 years ago

You need to obtain a visa prior to entry. You are inadmissible to the United States pursuant to 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) and 212(a)(9)(B). In order for you to overcome this in admissibility, you need to apply for a visa and obtain a waiver. If you dont and attempt to enter the US anyway, they will most likely set you up for an Expedited Removal.

Are most CBP officers lifers, working there til they retire? What are some popular career moves for officers who want a change?

Asked by Porter over 4 years ago

CBP is not a bad career to be a lifer in. Benefits are incredible, pay is even better. There are certainly are a lot of lifers here. The thing people dont know is that there is a lot more to do with this agency than process travelers and ask "Where are you going? What are you bringing?" We have intelligence duties, cargo screening, canine, training with INTERPOL, etc. When an CBP Officer changes careers, usually its to a Special Agent position within the federal government. The easiest transition is usually with Homeland Security Investigations (former ICE). Besides HSI, CBP Officers will transition over to Special Agent in FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.