How to Become an ICE Agent in Texas

As a border state with several high intensity drug trafficking corridors and countless international criminal enterprises attempting to circumvent immigration laws every day, Texas is a major hub of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations. Of the nation’s 24 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field offices, four are located in Texas, while the state is also home to an additional four Special Agent in Charge (SAC) field offices.

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By a recent count, ICE was holding over 7,500 detainees facing immigration violation charges or deportation who were housed in at least a dozen Texas prisons and jails, the most of any state in the country.  Key ICE facilities and detention centers are located in:

  • Irving: SAC field office
  • El Paso: SAC; ERO field offices and the El Paso Processing Center with 743 inmates
  • Houston: SAC; ERO field offices and the Houston Contract Detention Facility with 890 inmates
  • San Antonio: SAC and ERO field offices
  • Dallas: ERO field office
  • Los Fresnos: Port Isabel Service Processing Center with 896 inmates
  • Pearsall: South Texas Detention Facility with 1,598 inmates

Over the course of a recent month, ICE Agents working from these offices were involved in:

  • Two deportation cases
  • 12 cases related to child pornography and sexual exploitation
  • Two counterfeiting cases
  • Two cases relating to harboring or employing unauthorized workers
  • Three cases related to illegal drugs
  • One case of fraud

Candidates interested in being part of the concerted effort to uphold this nation’s immigration and customs laws can begin by considering the requirements for becoming an ICE Agent.

ICE Agent Employment Prerequisites

Before submitting an application through the federal USA jobs website, prospective ICE Criminal Investigators will need to meet a few essential requirements:

  • A bachelor degree in any subject plus either:
    • One year of post-graduate study
    • Academic distinction through one of the following:
      • Graduation in the top third of class or specific school program
      • 3.5 GPA in major courses
      • Election to a national honors society that is above the level of freshmen
      • 3.0 GPA in the final two years of study or cumulatively


  • Have US citizenship and a valid driver’s license
  • Be between the ages of 21-37, with exceptions for veterans and federal law enforcement
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Willingness and ability to use and operate a firearm

Bachelor’s degrees in the following academic subjects will also ensure candidates possess the required one year of experience working with criminal investigations and law enforcement:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Forensics
  • Law
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Police Science


Training Requirements for ICE Jobs

Newly hired ICE Agents will start by being assigned to complete an extensive 22-week instructional program. Training for ICE careers takes place at one of three Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in the country, and will ensure new agents are fully prepared to hit the skies, streets, and waterways of Texas with all systems go. ICE Agents in Texas will rely on many essential skills they learn during the first weeks of training, which include:

  • Arrest and apprehension techniques
  • Investigation strategies
  • Report writing
  • Dangerous suspect detention
  • Firearms training
  • Evidence collection and processing
  • Criminal psychology

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