The unique geography of Alaska poses challenges for US security efforts. With over 6,600 miles of coastline and a 1,538 mile border with Canada, border security is of major concern in Alaska. As far back as 2002, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) sounded the alarm in response to the concern that there were high levels of terrorist activity along the U.S.-Canada border.
Despite the potential threat posed by a porous border, the state has a fraction of the law enforcement personnel that patrol the Southwestern border of the US. Alaska has relatively low numbers of illegal immigrants compared to other states, but it has long been a transshipment point and consumer state for drugs.
Officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency contribute to keeping the state safe in a number of ways. In addition to identifying and detaining criminal aliens and fugitives, ICE agents in Alaska also do the following:
- Help to protect the border
- Prevent smuggling
- Intercept traffickers of humans and drugs
Educational Requirements for ICE Special Agent Jobs
There are a number of types of careers available with ICE. One of the jobs with the most activity in the field is a criminal investigator, or special agent. A high level of education is required to become an ICE special agent. Applicants must be able to meet the minimum requirements for a GL-7 position.
Although experience such as that in law enforcement or investigating criminal activities can help to substitute for education, ICE has a pretty rigorous educational requirement for those seeking to join the agency as special agents. Either a year of graduate education or high achievement in a bachelor’s degree is required. This can include the following:
- A high undergraduate GPA
- B in all courses completed or in the last two years of study
- B+ in courses for the major in the last two years or overall
- Being in the top third of the college class
- Election to a national honor society
Applicants must also meet the following conditions:
- US citizenship
- Being younger than 37 (this can be waived for veterans)
The Training Process for ICE Special Agents
Successful recruits will then learn how to become an ICE agent through 22 weeks of training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FLEC) in Brunswick, Georgia. Recruits are paid throughout their training. The preparation to become an ICE agent includes the following:
- Passing academic classes
- Qualifying with firearms
- Passing regular physical examinations
- Passing random drug tests
Residents of Alaska who are interested in becoming ICE special agents in the state are encouraged to contact the office of the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) that covers Alaska. This is the Seattle Division. It can be reached at 206-442-2200.
ICE Interdictions in Alaska
ICE special agents in Alaska fight a broad array of criminal activity.
Stopping the Distribution of Child Pornography – The agency has pioneered cutting edge efforts to thwart the spread of child pornography and rescue children that have been exploited in this manner. Recent cases in Alaska from 2013 included the following:
- The sentence of a Tennessee man to over 10 years in jail for distributing child pornography. He was found to possess thousands of such images and hundreds of videos.
- The sentence of a convicted sex offender from Washington state to 15 years in jail for his distribution of child pornography in Alaska.
Interdicting Drug Traffickers – In addition to activities by Mexican and Dominican cartels, Eastern European traffickers have been active in Alaska. The state’s proximity to the Eastern rim has facilitated the importation of drugs from Asia. ICE has a representative on the Alaska Interdiction Task Force (AITF) that is sponsored by the DEA.
In one high profile 2013 case alone, ICE agents and their law enforcement partners identified and shut down a ring of smugglers for having the club drug M1 shipped from China to Alaska, resulting in at least one death. The leader of the ring was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Arresting Criminal Illegal Aliens – A murder suspect from the Dominican Republic who had been living illegally in Alaska was sentenced to 65 years for the following crimes in 2013:
- Federal violations of firearms
- Identity theft
- Immigration benefit fraud