Think driving a Jeep for a living sounds like fun? Harvey MacKay says, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Just between you and me, I think driving a Jeep on dirt roads sounds like a great job description. Toss in some exercise – such as hiking, or a little running maybe – and we’re on the way to really cool fringe benefits. That’s a day at the office for a Border Patrol agent . . .sort of.
By the way, the United States Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection are hiring.
The Border Patrol, as we know it today, was established on May 28, 1924 out of the need to enforce Prohibition and the Immigration Acts;other forms of border security existed earlier, but they were not as organized or permanent. Prior to The War on Terrorism, the Border Patrol received little public attention, yet illegal immigration and smuggling has been going on since the borders were established – don’t kid yourself believing this problem is recent. Since the 1800s, Europeans and Chinese flooded into the country through parts of Canada where the border was meagerly patrolled, and Latin Americans poured in from the south in remote regions of the desert. In 2001, border protection suddenly sprung into the mainstream limelight for emphasis on anti-terrorism. And they use a fleet of Jeep TJs to handle the rough desert terrain along the border in the Tucson Sector in southern Arizona.
What’s it like to be a Border Patrol Agent? It begins with a lot of paperwork, and waiting. Then – if you get the green light, pass the background check – you enter a five-month academy in which you:
· Learn two and a half years worth of college Spanish
· Run eight miles a day
· Get trained in controlling large groups alone
· Learn federal law
· Oh, by the way this is the toughest academy in all of the law enforcement departments, second to the FBI academy.
Like most law enforcement academies, there is a high turnover rate. To quote one agent, “You’ve got to be a fighter, you can’t be a quitter. I don’t need a quitter as my backup – I’ve got a family, and they’re counting on me to come home at the end of the day. We’re out there alone sometimes, and we’ll apprehend groups of 10 or 15 people. If one decides to retaliate or resist, you’ve got to be willing to do what it takes until help arrives.