4 Years Experience
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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After the academy you have ZERO say. When you apply for the job, you can apply for a geographical location. Some of them include Southwest border, Northwest, North East, South East, Florida, etc. When you get "the call" to get hired, they offer an unspecified amount of Port of Entries in that geographical location to pick from. After you pick it, your stuck with it until you do a port swap with another officer (after your fully trained) or re apply and start from scratch. You cannot ask for land border or airport. You can only pick what they offer.
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.
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.
Unfortunately for you, the Officers have the final say on who can come into the United States. I was not there, so I cannot comment on what the Officers' were thinking.
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On merit alone, I wouldn't fire anyone. Believe it or not, Its extremely difficult to catch drugs without someone else's help, especially as a newer officer. Some officer's go a full year without catching anything. The cartel's are getting very creative now a days.
I think an officer should be fired based on their professionalism. I would much rather get rid of an officer who has attitude issues over an officer who needs more training to find dope.
I think we need more officers and dogs. Officers are constantly getting forced doubles on a regular basis. Doing this, you kill the moral of the Officers which negatively impact both job performance and interactions with the public. When you have more Officers, more drugs will get caught and people would potentially be treated better. Speaking of drugs, the dogs are an INCREDIBLE tool. Our dogs are regarded as the best in the world for finding drugs; other countries' governments come train their dogs with ours.
There is no SET procedure, it just depends on the Officer working the case and the Supervisors/Chiefs making a decision on if it would be in the interest of justice to just have them voluntarily return. Expeditiously Removing someone "Throw back" takes a lot more paperwork and a lot more man hours to complete, rather than a simple form for a voluntary departure. Either way, they are still getting fingerprinted and photographed.
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