Although ICE Agents have jurisdiction over all federal crimes involving customs and immigration offenses, in West Virginia fraud, immigration violations, and child pornography are the most frequently investigated crimes. With its northeastern panhandle considered part of the Washington, DC metro area, some parts of the state also face challenges posed by drugs and gangs associated with larger cities.
ICE Criminal Investigators are among the principle forces countering these vices, and all agents have completed 22 weeks of intensive training that provides them with all the essential skills they will need to mount successful operations throughout their careers.
Required Education and Experience for ICE Careers
Ideally those interested in pursuing ICE careers should start preparing for the application process years in advance. Candidates for ICE jobs as Criminal Investigators must be able to meet both a one-year experience requirement and a four-year minimum education requirement.
Applicants must also meet a few other basic qualifications:
- Be able to carry and operate a firearm
- Be a US citizen with a valid driver’s license
- Be between the ages of 21-37, with exceptions for federal law enforcement and veterans
- Have no felony convictions
The experience requirement for ICE jobs involves having dealt with criminal investigations and law enforcement for at least one year. One of the ways to qualify for this and fulfill the education requirement simultaneously is to study for a bachelor degree in a school program such as:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Police Science
- Forensic Science
The details of the education requirement stipulate that applicants need to have a bachelor degree and either one year of education at the master’s-level or one of the following four academic distinctions:
- Graduation in the top third of major or class
- 3.0 cumulative or final-two-year GPA
- Membership in a national honors society above the freshmen level
- 3.5 GPA in major field of study
West Virginia’s Working Environment for ICE Agents
ICE Criminal Investigators are active wherever needed in West Virginia. Some crimes are concentrated in predictable areas, for example ICE Agents are more vigilant of human traffickers along major roads such as I-64 and I-77. In a recent South Charleston case ICE Agents took custody of nine undocumented immigrants who were discovered during a traffic stop. The driver was a US citizen who eventually plead guilty to transporting illegal aliens.
However for other types of crimes ICE Agents must be vigilant wherever they are. One such crime is child pornography, which can be found virtually anywhere there is an electronic device with the capability of displaying images. ICE Criminal Investigators have made several recent busts against those whose victims are the future of West Virginia, its children:
- A Beckley man was recently sentenced to four years of incarceration for possession of child pornography.
- A Martinsburg man recently plead guilty to possessing child pornography after an ICE investigation revealed his computer contained more than 17,000 such images.
- In Squire a woman was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in allowing a minor in her custody to participate in the production of child pornography, with her conviction stemming from an ICE investigation.