U.S. Border Patrol hiring 1,000 agents

US Border Patrol patch

EDINBURG — U.S. Border Patrol officials hosted a recruitment event Thursday as part of a nationwide effort to fill more than 1,000 positions.

The event, which was held at a Workforce Solutions building in Edinburg, was one of a handful of events expected to be held this year to fill about 1,000 U.S. Border Patrol agent positions, Border Patrol spokesman Albert Garza said.

“We are accepting about 265,000 applications and out of those we anticipate hiring close to 1,000 agents,” Garza said. “(Workforce Solutions) allow us to use all their facilities across the Valley. That will allow the applicants to utilize the computers, upload their resume, apply for the job, and we help them through the process of the application.”

John Hershey, spokesman for Workforce Solutions, a local workforce development board that serves Starr, Willacy and Hidalgo counties, said they’ve been working with Border Patrol officials for more than three years now.

In November, Border Patrol officials attended the Red White and You hiring event at the McAllen Convention center — Workforce Solutions’ largest hiring event, Hershey said.

“Border Patrol feels that veterans have the right qualifications to become agents and fill some of their positions,” Hershey said.

The hiring is part of a larger nationwide recruitment effort that began last September and is scheduled through May of this year to hire more agents.

There are currently 21,370 officers working for Border Patrol nationwide, including more than 3,000 in the RGV sector. In 2006, Congress passed a law making it mandatory for Border Patrol to maintain a minimum of 21,000 agents.

CBP takes applicants between the ages of 18 and 37 and has a mandatory retirement age of 57. This age restriction, along with agents leaving for other agencies, has pushed CBP’s attrition rate to 5 percent, Border Patrol officials said.

Garza said the hiring process can take between eight months to a year, which includes the application process, a background check, a polygraph test, a physical fitness tests and a language proficiency test.

The positions would be filled throughout the country, specifically in the Rio Grande Valley area, west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Manuel A. Gomez Clarke was one of 30 applicants who applied Thursday at the Workforce Solutions building in Edinburg.

Gomez, who graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2013, said he also applied months ago to work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection because he wants to find a career that corresponds with his major in criminal justice.

“Doing this work is a good place for me to start in federal law enforcement, so that I can maybe broaden my horizons later on, get some experience, get some work experience,” Gomez said. “It’ll give me an opportunity to travel — to leave the Valley.”

The 30-year-old McAllen native said he also likes the idea of working out in the field on the border and dealing with people in a hands-on way.

“It interests me because I believe in the work they do to protect the country, to protect the borders, keeping contraband out, illegal drugs, illegal guns out of the country,” Gomez said.

The next recruitment event is scheduled for Jan. 12 in Mission at the Workforce Solutions building, 901 Travis St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those interested in applying can visit usajobs.gov to upload a resume and create a profile.

lzazueta@themonitor.com

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