One of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A component of Homeland Security, the agency consists of Border Patrol, Field Operations, and Air and Marine Operations. Every day, employees of CBP work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our country and citizens. If you have ever considered becoming a border patrol agent, or are curious as to what the agency does every day to ensure our safety and wellbeing, here is a brief overview of what you need to know.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Mission

“To safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.”

CBP was formed in 2003 from a consolidation of multiple agencies that were responsible for international trade, travel, and security. Through the integration, CBP was able to adapt and develop security procedures while remaining compliant with international regulations and trade laws, in addition to the nations immigration and health. One of the first agencies, U.S. Customs Service, dates back to 1789 and was established by the first Congress through the Fifth Act. This agency is seen to be the originator of the many agencies that followed, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862 and the U.S. Immigration Service in 1904.

Today, CBP’s top responsibilities include border security, trade, and travel. More than 60,000 employees work to enforce hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations daily. While border patrol agents are typically thought of first when discussing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, several other positions are vital to the agency. Officers, agricultural specialists, pilots, trade personnel, Marine Interdiction agents, and aviation enforcement agents all play an important role in the mission of CBP. These dedicated professionals keep dangerous and illegal people and goods from entering our country, protect our agricultural resources, secure and facilitate imports arriving in the country, and secure the travel environment, among many other crucial actions that keep the United States and citizens safe.

Border Patrol Agent’s were first introduced to our country in 1924 when Congress established it as part of the Immigration Bureau. Over 19,000 Border Patrol Agents were employed last year to fulfill the role of protecting our borders. Border patrol agents are responsible for seizing agricultural pests and narcotics. They also protect Americans by preventing human and drug trafficking, terrorism, and illegal immigration. There are several requirements to be eligible for a position as a border patrol agent. While not required, a bachelors or masters degree in Criminal Justice or Homeland Security is recommended. Once hired, new agents go through an extensive 19-week training and must pass the program with a minimum 70 percent average.
As one of the largest agencies in the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a powerful and significant operation to ensuring the welfare and security of our land and residents. Through collaboration, innovation, and integration, CBP strives to enhance the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity.