Heads up: the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is looking for you. That is, if you’re a U.S. citizen under 40 who’s in shape and willing to relocate to the border.
Border Patrol is looking to hire 6,000 agents by the end of the year. Considering that they currently have about 14,000 agents, that’s quite a job.
A freelance photographer and I went to a recent recruiting event in Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock, if you haven’t been, is nowhere near the border. Border Patrol is having recruiting sessions like these across the country, in states as far away as Connecticut and Rhode Island. The point, they say, is to introduce themselves to a new audience. The Border Patrol typically recruits in border communities where they are well known. But with 6000 people to hire, they’ve got to branch out and approach people who might not have thought about the Border Patrol as a career option.
The recruits at the Lubbock session watched a video, did an initial application online and took a practice test. As part of an expedited hiring process, these recruits could come to Dallas next for “one stop shopping,” basically, almost all the elements of the hiring process rolled into one weekend-interview, polygraph, fitness test. One of the agents in Lubbock told me for those candidates, a complete background check would be done while the candidates are at the academy in New Mexico. That’s a change. Normally, that would have to be done prior to the academy. But Border Patrol has found that the majority of people who pass the polygraph will also pass the background check with flying colors.
The photographer I was working with was a little disappointed in terms of the age requirement. He’d be too old to apply. Not that he’s thinking about a career switch necessarily, but he’d at least like to have the option. I, however, still have a few more years.
Starting pay, if you’re curious, is about $36,000.
Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.