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U.S. Border Patrol Seal

What We Do


Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) are focused 24/7 on securing our international land borders and coastal waters between ports of entry. They safeguard the American people from terrorists and their weapons and detect and prevent drug smugglers and the illegal entry of undocumented noncitizens. Border Patrol Processing Coordinators support BPAs with humanitarian care and intake processing of detainees and provide other clerical/administrative support to agents and other agency personnel.

Female Border Patrol Agent standing in a field

Video Description: A career as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent provides unique experiences that will be hard to find in any other job. In this video, actual agents in the field provide insight into the skills needed to be successful in the role, the tools they use, what drives U.S. Border Patrol Agents, and more.


Border Patrol Agents are focused 24/7 on securing our international land borders and coastal waters between ports of entry. They safeguard the American people from terrorists and their weapons, drug smugglers, and illegal entry of undocumented noncitizens. They truly exemplify U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s core values of integrity, vigilance, and service to country.

Typical Assignments Include:

  • Detecting, preventing, and apprehending undocumented noncitizens, smugglers of noncitizens, and illegal narcotics by maintaining surveillance from covert positions at or near the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and over 2,000 miles of coastal borders
  • 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 Border Patrol Agent opens up many opportunities as your career advances. In your career, you may have the opportunity to participate in the following:

  • Horse Patrol: The Horse Patrol Program is comprised of skilled horse riders, trainers, and instructors. Horse Patrol Agents ride in challenging terrain, environmentally protected, and privately owned sensitive geographic locations. The Horse Patrol are the most viable, and, in some cases, the only option for the U.S. Border Patrol to enter into regions inaccessible by any other means of patrol, such as 4x4 vehicles or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). Without the Horse Patrol, these areas would remain unpatrolled and susceptible to transnational criminal activity.
  • Bike Patrol: The 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: The K-9 Unit uses canines to detect concealed humans and odors of narcotics. The unit also performs Search and Rescue, Special Response Patrol, Human Remains Detection, and Tracking/Trailing.
  • Patrol Boat: Patrol boats are used to access the depth varied water boundaries of the United States. 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: The Off-Road Vehicle Unit is comprised of specially trained agents that use different off-road packaged vehicles, such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and other vehicles specifically designed to access terrain that is not compatible with regular motor vehicles to secure inaccessible areas of the border and intercept drug runners and undocumented noncitizens.
  • Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC): BORTAC provides the Department of Homeland Security with a highly trained and specially equipped tactical unit for specialized 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): In support of the Border Patrol Strategic Plan, the BORSTAR Unit will provide law enforcement, search and rescue, and medical response capabilities for the U.S. Border Patrol. Additionally, BORSTAR will provide mutual assistance to local, county, state, tribal, and federal entities by responding to enforcement and search and rescue requirements, acts of terrorism, potential terrorism, and natural disasters throughout the United States.
  • Mobile Response Team (MRT): The MRT provides a national group of organized, trained and equipped Border Patrol Agents capable of rapid movement to regional and national incidents in support of priority CBP operations. MRT provides a flexible and enhanced tiered-response capability to counter the emerging, changing, and evolving threats in our most challenging operational areas along our nation's borders.
  • Honor Guard: The USBP Honor Guard is a unit of volunteer agents whose primary duty is to render final honors and conduct memorial services in honor of law enforcement personnel who die in the line of duty. The Honor Guard is comprised of Honor Guard members, some of whom are Pipes and Drum members, which are Great Highland bagpipers or Scottish style drummers. The USBP Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums, have won and placed well in numerous competitions and have a reputation as the units for other law enforcement organizations to emulate.
  • Peer Support Program (PSP): The PSP offers confidential assistance and support to all U.S. 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.
  • National Pistol Team continues to strive for excellence and be the example of what well-trained Border Patrol Agents can accomplish with a firearm. The legacy of Border Patrol shooters consists of some of the most famous Law Enforcement Officers of the early 20th century and the most decorated competitors of three different shooting sports. All of this has been accomplished almost entirely by field agents assigned to non-firearms related Border Patrol duties. The USBP National Pistol Team has dominated National Police Pistol Shooting Championship contests. Since 1966, ten Border Patrol agents have won a national championship.
  • Firearms Instructor Training Program is dedicated to delivering the highest caliber firearms training and education, continuously seeking the most effective and innovative training methods. Firearms Instructors train and certify agents, arming them with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to conduct CBP operations located throughout the world.
  • Less-Lethal Instructor Training Program educates, trains, and certifies tactical instructors who deliver mission-specific training to CBP personnel, as well as to our national and international partners. Our training programs continually evolve and advance to encompass the tools, tactics, mindset and methodologies needed to engage the ever-changing threats to our nation.
  • Emergency Medical Program (EMP): The U.S. Border Patrol EMP is comprised of certified Emergency Medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics that provide emergency medical response and training capabilities for the U.S. Border Patrol. The EMP responds to a vast array of emergencies that range from medical illnesses to traumatic injuries. EMP personnel are highly trained in emergency medicine and use their skills to save lives and treat the injuries of fellow agents, illegal aliens and people from the communities in which they serve.
  • Chaplaincy: The primary purpose of the Chaplaincy Program is promoting the well-being of the U.S. Border Patrol workforce. Chaplains provide guidance for both physical and mental health, including stress management. The Chaplaincy Program provides educational resources and training on difficult topics including suicide prevention and awareness and law enforcement-related stress. The Chaplaincy Program also provides connections to local community resources.

Border Patrol Processing Coordinators support Border Patrol Agents with humanitarian care and intake processing of detainees and provide other clerical/administrative support to agents and other agency personnel.

Typical Assignments Include:

  • Receiving and processing custody of detainees; maintaining well-being of detainees outside of a secure complex; inventorying, tagging and storing detainees' personal property for tracking purposes
  • Transporting detainees to proceedings and medical facilities, which may require operating a passenger shuttle bus
  • Communicating in the Spanish language; maintaining contact with other sectors, stations, agencies and foreign consulates and making arrangements for removal procedures, travel and escorts
  • Logging the status of welfare checks of occupants, conducting visual inspections of temporary holding areas and inputting information into the appropriate processing system
  • Drafting and maintaining administrative paperwork and reports related to property, transportation, and deportation documentation