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  3. What We Do

What We Do

Portrait of Male Border Patrol Agent who is standing in the desert

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Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) detect, prevent, and apprehend terrorists, undocumented noncitizens, smugglers of noncitizens and illegal narcotics at or near the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal borders using surveillance from covert positions.

Typical Assignments Include:

  • Responding to electronic sensor alarms in remote areas
  • Interpreting and following tracks, marks and other physical evidence of undocumented noncitizens and smugglers
  • Using cutting-edge technology, such as infrared scopes during nighttime operations
  • Performing line-watch 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 undocumented noncitizens and smugglers

Being a BPA opens up many opportunities as your career advances. In your career you may have the opportunity to participate in the following:

Horse Patrol: Horse Patrol agents ride in challenging terrain, environmentally protected and privately owned sensitive geographic locations. In some cases, it is the only option for U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) to enter regions inaccessible by any other means of patrol. Without Horse Patrol these areas would remain unpatrolled and susceptible to transnational criminal activity.

Bike Patrol: Bike Patrol facilitates the apprehension of all cross-border threats by utilizing the tactical law enforcement advantages of stealth, mobility, agility and accessibility.

K-9 Unit: The K-9 Unit uses canines to detect concealed humans and odors or narcotics, perform search and rescue, special response patrol, human remain detection and tracking/trailing.

Boat Patrol: Specially trained agents use airboats, shallow draft vessels and V-hull platforms to patrol remote waterways and otherwise inaccessible landings that would be exploited by criminal smuggling elements without a law enforcement presence.

Off-Road Vehicle Unit: Specially trained agents use all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and other vehicles designed to access terrain that is not compatible with motor vehicles to secure inaccessible areas of the border and intercept drug runners and undocumented noncitizens.

Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC): Highly trained and specially equipped tactical unit for rapid response or deliberate deployments to law enforcement situations and intelligence-based threats requiring special tactics, techniques and procedures in defense of our national security.

Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR): Highly trained and specialized unit provides law enforcement, search and rescue and medical to local, county, state, tribal and federal entities for search and rescues, acts of terrorism, potential terrorism and natural disasters throughout the U.S.

Mobile Response Team: National Group of organized, trained and equipped BPAs capable of providing a flexible and enhanced tiered-response capability to counter the emerging, changing and evolving threats in our most challenging operational areas along U.S. borders.

Honor Guard: A volunteer group of agents who render final honors and conduct memorial services in honor of law enforcement personnel who die in the line of duty. It is comprised of Pipes and Drum members (Great Highland bagpipers and Scottish style drummers), who have won numerous competitions and are worthy of emulation by other law enforcement organizations.

Peer Support Program (PSP): Specially trained agents available to all employees and their immediate family members to provide support and assistance to deal with personal issues or stressors and develop ways to resolve issues before they become chronic and debilitating. The PSP is not a substitute for mental health professionals.

National Pistol Team: The National Pistol team shoots in local, state, regional or national Police Pistol Combat tournaments to practice, evaluate skills and learn from fellow law enforcement officers.

Firearms Instructor Training Program: Firearms instructors train and certify agents, arming them with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to conduct CBP operations located throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

Less-Lethal Instructor Training Program: Certified tactical instructors who deliver mission-specific training to CBP personnel, as well as to our national and international partners. The training continually evolves and advances to encompass the tools, tactics, mindset and methodologies needed to engage the ever-changing threats to our nation.

Emergency Medical Program: Certified Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics that provide emergency medical response and training for USBP. They are highly trained in emergency medicine and use their skills to save lives and treat the injuries of fellow agents, undocumented noncitizens and people from the communities in which they serve.

Chaplaincy Program: The Chaplaincy Program provides educational resources and training on difficult topics – including suicide prevention and awareness and law enforcement related stress. It also provides connections to local community resources.

  • Last Modified: September 14, 2022