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Border Patrol Agent Duties

As a Border Patrol Agent, you a valuable member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) profession. Typical assignments include:

  • Patrolling international land borders and coastal waters
  • Detecting and preventing the illegal entry and smuggling of aliens into the United States
  • Detecting and preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering into the United States
  • Preventing the illegal trafficking of people, narcotics and contraband into the United States

Typical Border Patrol activities include:

  • Detecting, preventing, and apprehending undocumented aliens, smugglers of aliens, and illegal narcotics at or near the land borders by maintaining surveillance from covert positions
  • Responding to electronic sensor alarms in remote areas
  • Interpreting and following tracks, marks and other physical evidence of illegal aliens and smugglers
  • Using cutting edge technology, such as infrared scopes during night-time operations
  • Performing linewatch duties, traffic checkpoint operations, city patrols, transportation checks and other law enforcement duties, as assigned
  • Communicating and/or giving verbal commands in Spanish to Spanish-speaking illegal aliens and smugglers

Additional Duties and Responsibilities for BPAs
Being a border agent opens up many opportunities as your career advances. In your career you may have the opportunity to do the following:

Horse Patrol: The Horse Patrol Program is comprised of a group of skilled horse riders that conduct targeted enforcement operations in terrain challenged, environmentally protected, and privately owned sensitive geographic locations. Regions in which the Horse Patrol operate are inaccessible to other patrol methodologies and would otherwise remain unpatrolled and susceptible to transnational criminal activity.
Bike Patrol: Bike Patrol operations facilitate the apprehension of all cross-border threats by utilizing the unique tactical law enforcement advantages of stealth, mobility, agility, and accessibility.
K-9 Unit: Use canines to detect concealed humans and narcotics, Search and Rescue (SAR), Patrol (Special Response), Human Remains Detection (HRD), and Tracking/Trailing (TT).
Riverine Operations: The Off-Road Vehicle Unit is comprised of specially trained agents that utilize different off-road packaged vehicles such as All-Terrain Vehicles, Dirt Bikes and other vehicles specifically designed for accessing terrain that is not compatible with regular motor vehicles.
Off-Road Vehicle Unit: Secure areas of the border that are inaccessible to regular vehicles and intercept drug runners and illegal aliens.
BORTAC: The Border Patrol Tactical Unit is specially trained and equipped team used for rapid response into situations involving threats to national and border security requiring specialized tactics and techniques. Trained to operate in especially sensitive situations and in extraordinarily harsh environmental conditions. Respond to emergency situations such as riots, disturbances in detention facilities and mass immigration emergencies. Train local law enforcement at home and abroad in conducting traffic check operations, tracking, patrolling, and land navigation.
BORSTAR: The Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Team is a specialized unit capable of responding to emergency search and rescue situations anywhere in the United States. They are nationally registered Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) with advanced medical skills trained in advanced technical rope rescue tactics, air rescue, swift water rescue, and advanced search and rescue techniques.
Mobile Response Team: The Mobile Response Team is a national group of organized, trained, and equipped Border Patrol agents who provide a rapid response capability to fluctuating levels of risk along the border.
Chaplaincy: The U.S. Border Patrol Chaplaincy Program is a group of dedicated Border Patrol Agents that serve Border Patrol employees and their families by providing spiritual care and fostering a work environment rich in resources that will enable employees to overcome adversity and empower them to attain the highest level of professionalism. A USBP Chaplain is a resource for guidance, assistance, and support, both spiritual and non-spiritual to USBP Employees and their immediate families in both personal and professional issues and in crisis situations.
Peer Support Program: The mission of the Peer Support Program (PSP) is to offer confidential assistance and support to all Border Patrol employees and their family members in times of personal need or due to traumatic incidents. The PSP works in conjunction with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and does not replace psychological treatment. The objective of the PSP is to minimize psychological trauma that Border Patrol employees and their families may experience throughout their career and render assistance in an attempt to accelerate normal recovery to abnormal events, some of which are unique to the Border Patrol environment.
Honor Guard: The USBP Honor Guard is a unit of volunteer agents whose primary duties are to render final honors and conduct memorial services in honor of those law enforcement personnel who die in the line of duty. The Honor Guard must be ready and able to represent the U.S. Border Patrol in exhibiting the most polished appearance and performing with the finest discipline. Other duties include representing the U.S. Border Patrol at special functions if deemed appropriate by the USBP Chief and/or his designee.


Last modified: 
January 25, 2017