Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) AgentU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one of three federal law enforcement agencies that was established in 2003 to replace the United States Immigration and Naturalization (INS) agency. It operates within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Agents that work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as "ICE" agents, are tasked with the responsibility of promoting and protecting national security by enforcing federal immigration laws and statutes.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents enforce immigration laws, detect and stop drug and human trafficking, and provide security at airports and government buildings. ICE agents conduct raids to apprehend illegal immigrants. Since terrorism is a major concern, ICE agents monitor border crossings closely to stop suspected terrorists from entering the country. ICE agents are typically stationed at federal buildings, border crossing stations, and other strategic locations throughout the United States.
ICE is divided into two functional divisions: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). ICE is base in Washington, D.C., where it manages the investigative and enforcement efforts for more than 400 federal statutues. In addition to its domestic operations, ICE has attaches at U.S. embassies througout the world.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)With over 6,500 HSI Special Agents, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the largest investigative unit within the DHS and the second largest in the nation. HSI was originally established as the ICE Office of Investigations. The primary mission of HSI Special Agents is to investigate threats to U.S. national security. Specifically HSI Special Agents investigate issues relating to human trafficking, human rights violations, money laundering, computer crimes, financial crimes, human smuggling, arms trafficking and drug trafficking. Occassionally, HSI agents will work in cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service to solve crimes and provide security.
Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)First established as the Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO), the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) today is the second largest division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ERO Agents are also know as Deportation Officers (DOs). The primary mission of DOs is to find, apprehend, and remove illegal aliens and aliens who violate United States immigration law. Specifically, DOs transport aliens, presecute aliens, monitor deportation proceedings of alients, supervise the release of aliens and physically remove illegals from the United States.
Qualifications and TrainingICE agents are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree. Obtaining a degree in criminal justice or a field related to national security is beneficial, but not necessary. ICE hires agents with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. If you're interested in a career as an ICE agent, you must prove that you've lived in the United States for 3 of the last 5 years prior to applying and have documentation proving American citizenship. You must be 40 years old or younger at the time of applying. Applicants are also required to have previous work experience (preference is given to applicants with government agency work experience), pass a written test and background check, hold a valid driver's license, and pass a physical fitness exam.
Below you can explore various degree programs in criminal justice and law enforcement that will prepare you for a successful career.
Once hired to work as an ICE law enforcement officer, you'll receive law enforcement training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Glynco, Georgia–often referred to as the ICE Academy. Depending on the position, training at the ICE Academy may last from 4 to 6 months. Upon graduation, ICE law enforcement officers, agents and personnel may undergo additional specialize training. ERO officers and HSI agents receive training in immigration law, law enforcement tactics, emergency response driving, warrant service, and constitutional law.
EquipmentICE agents, both HSI Special Agents and ERO Officers, are issued a primary side arm – the standard .40 caliber SIG Sauer P229R pistol. All pistols come with an agency-modified double action trigger. Some agents also carry the Remington Model 870 shotgun and/or the Colt M4 carbine. Agents performing specialized immigration work and law enforcement projects may carry the Heckler & Kock MP5 submachine gun.
ICE agents typically earn anywhere from $47,791 to $61,671 a year. Pay is based on seniority, experience and position.
You can learn more about careers and occupations within ICE at https://www.ice.gov/careers/.
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