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Salary Expectations for ICE Agents

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a massive federal law enforcement agency with more than 20,000 employees and more than 400 offices worldwide. Organized under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, ICE is now part of the DHS’s layered approach to security, serving as the agency’s principal investigative arm.

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ICE’s major responsibilities center on the investigation and deportation of illegal aliens and the protection of America’s borders by obstructing the activities of crime rings, gangs, terrorists. It also protects intellectual property (IP) rights and maintains a number of task forces and cooperative efforts with local, state, federal and international agencies.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Salary: Salary Expectations for ICE Agents

Salary expectations for ICE employees vary widely, due to the sheer number of jobs, programs and units within this federal law enforcement agency. ICE agent jobs, for example, may include the following professions:

Deportation Officers (DO): DOs, through collaborative efforts with other federal law enforcement officials, identify, locate and arrest illegal aliens and ensure their removal from the U.S. DOs may also conduct investigations and surveillance work and prepare investigative reports.

Detention and Deportation Officer (DDO): DDOs plan and execute the confinement and removal of illegal aliens.

HSI Special Agents: HSI Special Agents are criminal investigators who are responsible for conducting both criminal and civil investigations relating to terrorism, drug smuggling, child exploitation, financial crimes, human trafficking, and identity fraud, among others.

Immigration Enforcement Agent (IEA): IEAs are uniformed officers within the United States Interior. Their work involves activities involved with the investigation, arrest, removal and prosecution of illegal aliens. They also assist in the process of sending these individuals back to their country of citizenship.

ICE, like most federal agencies, utilizes the GS federal pay scale. Individuals working as ICE Agents begin at a pay grade that directly reflects their education and experience, although most new ICE agents begin at GS-5 which, as of 2012, was between $27,431 and $35,657.

  • GS-5: $27,431-$35,657
  • GS-6: $30,577-$39,748
  • GS-7: 33,979-$44,176
  • GS-8: $37,631-$48,917
  • GS-9: $41,563-$54,028

HSI special agents are usually offered at the GL-7 and GL-9 level.

To qualify at the GS-5 level and receive the equivalent salary, candidates must either possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or at least 3 years of general experience.

To qualify at the GS-7 level, candidates must have at least one full year of graduate-level education or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level.

To qualify at the GS-9 level, candidates must have a master’s degree (or an equivalent graduate degree), or at least 2 years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to an LLB or JD degree, or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Salary: Salary Expectations for
Intelligence Professionals

In addition to its large number of ICE agent positions, ICE also has an abundance of opportunities for individuals in the intelligence fields. Intelligence careers in ICE include:

Intelligence Officer: Analyzes and evaluates information, prepares intelligence products, and provides intelligence advice and input regarding major criminal investigations

Intelligence Research Assistant: Provides technical and administrative support for intelligence operations

Intelligence Research Specialist: Analyzes and evaluates information and prepares intelligence products

Program Analyst/Mission Support Specialist: Provides administrative and management duties related to the operations of the office, such as information systems, finance, human resources, logistics, travel, and telecommunications, among others.

Like ICE agents, intelligence professionals adhere to the federal pay scale. However, due to the highly technical nature of many of these positions, it is common for entry-level requirements to be at the GS-7 level or higher.

To qualify at the GS-7 level, candidates must have at least one full year of graduate-level education or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level.

To qualify at the GS-9 level, candidates must have a master’s degree (or an equivalent graduate degree), or at least 2 years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to an LLB or JD degree, or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level.

To qualify at the GS-11, candidates must possess a Ph.D. or an equivalent doctoral degree, or at least 3 years of higher-level graduate education resulting in an LLM degree, or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 level.

  • GS-7: 33,979-$44,176
  • GS-8: $37,631-$48,917
  • GS-9: $41,563-$54,028
  • GS-10: $45,771-$59,505
  • GS-11: $50,287-$65,371
  • GS-12: $60,274-$78,355
  • GS-13: $71,674-$93,175
  • GS-14: $84,697-$110,014
  • GS-15: $99,628-$129,517

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Salary: Salary Expectations for Investigations Support Positions

There are also a large number of individuals within ICE’s investigative support positions:

  • Auditor: Plans, performs, and advises on a number of external audit assignments relating to financial and worksite enforcement audits of criminal organizations and businesses under investigation
  • Criminal Research Specialist: Performs administrative investigations related to financial, public safety, critical infrastructure, national security, strategic technology, and human smuggling, among others; plans and coordinates analytical assignments and research projects related to investigations involving Homeland Security Investigations
  • Investigative Assistant: Gathers data, conducts inquiries regarding individual case assignments, assists in case research and trial preparation, and researches and assembles information and figures for investigations, seizures and penalty reports
  • Mission Support Specialist: Coordinates administrative and management services essential to the operations of the office
  • Technical Enforcement Officer: Participates in criminal investigations with other law enforcement officers during active criminal investigations

Criminal investigator support positions are usually offered at the GL-7 and GL-9 grade levels.

  • GS-7: 33,979-$44,176
  • GS-8: $37,631-$48,917
  • GS-9: $41,563-$54,028

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