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Boreal Community Media

Exclusive: A day in the life of a Cook County border patrol agent

Oct 09, 2018 03:05PM ● By Editor

 Exclusive report from Boreal Community Media - October 9, 2018

Boreal staff member, Lisa Bauer, met with Brandon Law, a supervisor with the Border Patrol, to learn a little more about his career and the job duties that come along with it.  They met at the Border Patrol office on the east end of Grand Marais.  Brandon is in charge of the wilderness operations.  Some of his “daily office space” includes the BWCA and Isle Royale. 

The US Customs and Border Protection is the federal agency responsible for providing security for over 7,000 miles of border between the US, Canada, and Mexico in addition to over 2,000 miles of water from Florida to California coastlands. 

Brandon said that he has been with the Border Patrol since April of 2008.  Prior to that, he worked in law enforcement (and was even featured on an episode of the television show “Cops” in 2009).  He had friends who worked as Border Patrol Agents, and hearing how they enjoyed their jobs led him to apply.  He said that the best part of the job is that he loves this area, working in the outdoors, and enjoys talking to people.   He often sees such spectacular spots while on duty and is able to take his family to them on his days off so that they can also enjoy the beauty of the area. 

The application/hiring process for CBP can take years due to the extensive background checks and the physical/medical testing.  Brandon shared that although he has a doctorate degree, a person does not have to have a college degree to apply for a position with the Border Patrol.

The training academy is in Artesia, New Mexico.  Some aspects of training were rigorous.  Some topics covered during training are:  immigration and nationality law, Spanish language training, physical techniques, and emergency driving procedures.  In the past, students who knew Spanish were able to test out, but now everyone must go through the same standardized training.   Training is approximately six months long.  The curriculum is constantly being reviewed.  Once the training academy portion is completed, applicants can apply to go on to more specialized training.  Different specialized training includes ATV patrol, intelligence, boat patrol, electronic surveillance, or prosecutions.  (Due to the significant amount of paperwork involved in arrests, it can take several hours from the time someone is apprehended until the processing is completed and they can be turned over to ICE for deportation.)  Border patrol agents can pick from four different regions in Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico upon completion of basic training.  Specialized assignments are based on seniority.  Involuntary transfers are rare, and most agents don’t have to relocate unless they want to. 

Brandon said that the worst parts of his career are seeing dead bodies and hearing the sad stories from people who are going through difficult situations in their lives.   Although Border Patrol Agents have a job to do, they are still human and are sensitive to the pain that others may be experiencing.   In addition to the human danger factors that Brandon encounters, he has ridden out some wild storms while on duty, in addition to running into multiple forms of wildlife. 

Brandon clarified that the difference between the positions at the Pigeon River border crossing and border patrol agents is that border patrol agents are responsible for land between ports of entry.  CBP Officers enforce trade and travel regulations at entry points throughout the nation.  They have different functions and their jurisdiction is primarily at land ports-of-entry, seaports, and international airports. Border patrol agents have nationwide responsibility.

We thank Brandon and his team for their dedication and service!

To learn more about the Border Patrol academy, follow this link:

To learn about careers with the Border Patrol, click here:


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