What is Involved in Border Patrol Training?

Patrick Roland

The United States Border Patrol is the Department of Homeland Security's policing force responsible for monitoring the country's boundaries. Border patrol training for new recruits is an intense, 19-week boot camp aimed at educating newcomers in every aspect of the job. The training consists of four important parts: learning the laws, learning Spanish, firearms training and physical education. Successful completion of this course ensures that every agent is prepared for the daily demands of this challenging job.

Border patrol recruits are taught how to use a handgun and other weapons safely.
Border patrol recruits are taught how to use a handgun and other weapons safely.

Understanding the law of policing the United States' border is the primary job of border patrol training. Preparation consists of a four-part course that covers nationality law, immigration law, criminal law and statutory authority. These classroom sessions help recruits understand how to identify whether an individual is an illegal immigrant, how to determine the legality of that person's status, how to determine if the person is breaking any state or federal laws by crossing the border and the history behind several other border patrol cases. This aspect of training will give an agent the legal perspective necessary to carry out the law.

Firearms training is part of border patrol training.
Firearms training is part of border patrol training.

A border patrol agent is stationed along one of the United State's two natural borders, the border with Canada or the border with Mexico. Most Canadians can speak English, but the national language of Mexico is Spanish, so there is a possible communication barrier for agents working along the southern borders. Border patrol training tests a recruit's Spanish ability, and if he or she cannot pass a language course, attending Spanish classes is required. The purpose of these tests and classes is to ensure every agents' ability to communicate, because many individuals who are stopped by border patrol agents speak Spanish as a first language.

Soldiers may patrol borders by foot and ground vehicles.
Soldiers may patrol borders by foot and ground vehicles.

Firearms education also is a big part of border patrol training. Recruits are taught how to use a handgun and other weapons safely and accurately. Most importantly, recruits are instilled with the understanding of the proper time and situation to draw or use a firearm.

Border patrol agents are typically authorized to make arrests.
Border patrol agents are typically authorized to make arrests.

Finally, a border patrol agent must be in peak physical condition to monitor the lands along the United States' boundary. Weightlifting and stamina training are closely monitored and are instilled into each future agent. In addition, proper physical care, such as eating properly, and mental care, such as dealing with stress, are taught to recruits during border patrol training.

A boarder patrol agent must be in peak physical condition.
A boarder patrol agent must be in peak physical condition.

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