Consider a Career in Immigration Services

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin peer through the U.S.-Mexico border fence
John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

For those interested in a career in U.S. immigration services, consider the three immigration agencies that are within the Department of Homeland Security: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

These positions include border patrol agents, criminal investigators or agents who enforce immigration policy through apprehension, processing, detention or deportation of illegal aliens, or assisting immigrants through the process of achieving legal status, visas or naturalization.

Homeland Security Careers Information

Information about careers within the U.S. federal government can be found at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This office contains further information for federal job seekers including employee pay scales and benefits. U.S. citizenship is a requirement for a majority of these federal jobs. Read the requirements carefully before applying. 

Customs and Border Protection

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the CBP is a premier law enforcement agency that safeguards America’s borders. Every day, CBP protects the public from dangerous people and materials attempting to cross the border, while enhancing the nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel at ports of entry. On a typical day, CBP makes more than 900 apprehensions and seizes more than 9,000 pounds of illegal drugs. The CBP offers a comprehensive careers section on its website including job recruiting events.

There are approximately 45,000 employees across the U.S. and overseas. There are two major categories in Customs and Border Patrol: frontline law enforcement and mission-critical occupations, such as operational and mission support positions. Current CBP opportunities can be found on USA Jobs. USA Jobs is the official job site of the U.S. Federal Government.

Annual salary ranges in CBP in 2016 were: $60,000 to $110,000 for a customs and border patrol officer, $49,000 to $120,000 for a border patrol agent and $85,000 to $145,000 for a management and program analyst.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, its homeland security mission is carried out by a wide variety of law enforcement, intelligence and mission support professionals all of whom have the opportunity to contribute to the safety and security of the U.S. In addition to the core law enforcement occupations, there are also a wide range of professional and administrative functions that support the ICE mission. ICE offers an extensive careers information and recruitment calendar section on its website. Find out when ICE will be in your area for a recruiting event.

ICE classifies its job opportunities into two categories: criminal investigators (special agents) and all other ICE opportunities. Positions in ICE include financial and trade investigations; cyber crimes; project analysis and management; litigating removal cases in immigration court; working with foreign authorities; intelligence gathering; investigations into arms and strategic technology violations; human trafficking; and child exploitation. Other roles include security for federal buildings, perform crowd control and surveillance, and work with other federal state and local authorities or enforcement duties that include the apprehension, processing, detention, and deportation of illegal or criminal aliens. Finally, there are a number of technical, professional, administrative or management occupations directly supporting its law enforcement mission.

ICE has up to 20,000 employees working in 400 offices nationwide and over 50 locations internationally. Entry-level criminal investigators are recruited directly through recruiters. Contact special agent recruiters at the nearest Special Agent in Charge (SAC) office to apply for a criminal investigator position, but only when ICE is actively recruiting. Check the career section of ICE's website to find out if the department is recruiting. All other ICE job opportunities can be found on USA Jobs

Annual salary ranges in ICE in 2017 were: $69,000-$142,000 for a special agent, $145,000-$206,000 for senior attorneys, and $80,000-$95,000 for a deportation officer.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services

According to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, the agency oversees legal immigration to the United States. The agency helps people build better lives while helping to defend the integrity of the nation’s immigration system. The USCIS Careers site has information on becoming a USCIS employee, pay and benefits offerings, training and career development opportunities, upcoming recruiting events and some frequently asked questions.

There are approximately 19,000 federal and contract employees at 223 offices worldwide. Positions include security specialist, information technology specialist, management and program analyst, applications adjudicator, asylum officer, refugee officer, immigration information officer, immigration officer, intelligence research specialist, adjudications officer and immigration services officer. Current USCIS opportunities can be found on USA Jobs. In addition to the website, USCIS has access to job opening information through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or by TDD at (978) 461-8404.

Annual salary ranges in USCIS in 2017 were: $80,000 to $100,000 for an immigration officer, $109,000-$122,000 for an IT specialist, and $51,000-$83,000 for an adjudications officer.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
McFadyen, Jennifer. "Consider a Career in Immigration Services." ThoughtCo, Sep. 9, 2021, McFadyen, Jennifer. (2021, September 9). Consider a Career in Immigration Services. Retrieved from McFadyen, Jennifer. "Consider a Career in Immigration Services." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).