How to Become an ICE Agent in Washington

As a border state with some of the largest population centers in the Pacific Northwest, Washington attracts more than its fair share of drug traffickers, border jumpers, and those trying to circumvent import regulations. To counter these challenges, ICE Criminal Investigators are based out of cities across the state, including two key facilities in Seattle: an Enforcement and Removal Operations field office and a Special Agent in Charge (SAC) field office. Washington State is also home to one of ICE’s largest detention facilities in the nation, the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center, which recently housed 1,172 inmates.

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ICE jobs in Washington are not only found in the most densely populated part of western Washington in Seattle and the surrounding area. Drug and immigration violations often necessitate deployment to Spokane in the east or in border towns to the north such as Bellingham.

Basic Requirements for Becoming an ICE Agent

ICE Agents investigate all sorts of crimes ranging from child sexual abuse to illegal art trafficking. Because of this the process of becoming an ICE Agent involves meeting several tiers of requirements. First come the basics:

  • US citizenship
  • Between the ages of 21-37 with exceptions for veterans or federal law enforcement officers
  • Being able to lawfully carry a firearm
  • Having no felony convictions

Next is a one-year experience requirement dealing with the fields of law enforcement and criminal investigations. This can be fulfilled with a bachelor’s degree in a field of study such as:

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

Finally, all ICE Criminal Investigators must have either a year of postgraduate study OR one of the following achievements in their bachelor’s program:

  • 3.5 GPA in major field of study
  • 3.0 GPA in the final two years of study or in total
  • Election to a non-freshman honors society
  • Graduation in the top one-third of major or class


Training for ICE Careers

Applications for ICE careers can be made through the federal USA Jobs website. Once applicants have been accepted into the ranks of Immigration and Customs Enforcement they will begin with a 22-week basic training course. This will provide a solid foundation for the future ICE missions of all agents. Training includes:

  • Firearms training
  • Report compilation
  • Pursuit and arrest techniques
  • Suspect interrogation
  • Criminal psychology
  • Command structure


ICE Profile in Washington State

The versatility of ICE Homeland Security Investigators cannot be overemphasized. This can be demonstrated by the following cases, which represent only a portion of all 2013 ICE investigations in the state:

  • Eight cases involving child sexual abuse and pornography
  • One case involving a suspect impersonating an ICE Agent
  • Five cases involving counterfeit goods
  • Four cases dealing with weapons trafficking
  • One case involving a murder-for-hire scheme
  • Six cases involving drug trafficking
  • One case of fraud
  • Two cases of prostitution
  • Two cases related to gang activities

Because of the mandate of ICE Agents, all the criminal activity investigated by the agency has national or international implications. For example, the prostitution cases dealt with an international human trafficking organization that would trick Korean women into immigrating to Washington State where they would then be coerced into prostitution.

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