Detention and Deportation Officer
Enforcement and Removal (ERO) detention and deportation officers conduct legal research to support decisions on removal cases and assist attorneys in representing the government in court actions. Detention and deportation officers work with other federal law enforcement officials to identify, locate and arrest undocumented individuals and are responsible for ensuring the physical removal of undocumented individuals from the United States. Detention and deportation officers also prepare, present and defend cases at removal proceedings.
As a detention and deportation officer with ERO you will help secure our nation’s borders and safeguard the integrity of our immigration system by establishing goals and long-range plans for, as well as management and oversight of, nationwide detention and removal programs. Developing and using innovative strategies, you will target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal undocumented individuals and gang members, foreign fugitives and immigration violators. You will help ensure the safe and efficient removal of undocumented individuals from the U.S. to more than 170 countries around the world.
Applications for detention and deportation officer positions will be accepted during an open vacancy announcement. Vacancy announcements will be posted online through the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USAJOBS website. During an open announcement period, the applicant will be required to submit a resume with the original application. If the applicant is a preference-eligible veteran, additional opportunities may be available. Preference-eligible applicants may find additional information at OPM's website. Click below to learn more about basic eligibility.
- U.S. citizenship
- Have a valid driver's license.
- Be eligible to carry a firearm.
- Previous experience in a primary (rigorous) law enforcement position.
- Successfully completed basic law enforcement training.
- For males born after 12/31/1959, Selective Service registration is required.
DDOs are not required to take a pre-employment exam.
Certain veterans may receive an additional five or 10 points added to their numerical score on the occupational questionnaire (refer to the occupational questionnaire section below for scoring details).
If an applicant has never worked for the federal government, he/she is not ICTAP/CTAP eligible. Information about ICTAP or CTAP eligibility is found on the OPM's Career Transition Resources website. To be considered well qualified under ICTAP/CTAP an applicant must earn a score of 85 or above on the rating criteria developed for this position.
Prospective hires generally participate in an interview with ICE personnel who pose law enforcement scenarios to the applicant. No technical knowledge is necessary for the interview, the intent of this interview is to gauge critical thinking through these scenarios.
ICE is a drug-free workplace. All ICE applicants must satisfactorily complete a drug test as a mandatory condition of employment with ICE. ICE will schedule, provide and pay for the drug test. Once onboard, employees are subject to random drug testing throughout their careers.
Applicants for officer positions within ERO must take and pass a three-part fitness test consisting of the following components: kneel/stand test, push-ups and a 5-minute cardiovascular endurance step test. The criminal investigator position requires moderate to arduous physical exertion involving walking and standing, use of firearms and exposure to inclement weather. The work requires physical strength and stamina. Individuals must be able to conduct long periods of surveillance, pursue and restrain suspects and carry heavy equipment to be utilized in investigative efforts. The environment involves work indoors and outdoors in a variety of potentially dangerous and stressful situations, as well as exposure to physical attack, including the use of lethal weapons.
Appointment will be contingent upon a candidate passing a pre-employment medical examination to ascertain possession of the physical, emotional, and mental requirements for the position. Any chronic disease or condition affecting the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, digestive, nervous, endocrine or genitourinary systems that would impair full performance of the job duties is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may disqualify the individual. Since the duties of these positions are demanding and involve the responsibility for the safety of others under trying conditions, applicants must possess emotional and mental stability. Any condition that hinders full, efficient performance of the duties of these positions or would cause the individual to be a hazard to himself/herself or to others can result in disqualification. Common reasons for medical disqualification include the inability to meet the hearing and vision medical standards.
All positions require security vetting. Security vetting takes an average of three months to complete, but the process can vary from two weeks to one year, depending on both the applicant's history and the level of security vetting required for the position.
ICE offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package which includes health, dental, vision, life, long-term care insurance, retirement plan, Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k)), flexible spending account, Employee Assistance Program, personal leave days and paid federal holidays. Other benefits may include: flexible work schedules, telework, tuition reimbursement, transportation subsidies, uniform allowance, health and wellness programs and access to fitness centers. DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of training and developmental opportunities.
Officers are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to base pay, you may be eligible for locality pay, overtime pay, and more.
- Salary: You receive a salary that corresponds to your grade level. This salary is the number quoted on USAJOBS.
- Overtime Pay: Earn up to an additional 25% of your salary and locality pay for time worked in addition to the 40 hour work week.
- Locality Pay: You may receive pay on top of your salary, depending on where you work. Navigate the different locality pay tables.
- Between 13 and 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (based on years of federal service)
- 10 federal holidays per year
- 15 days of military reserve leave
- 13 days of sick leave accrued per year
Overtime pay for federal government employees is determined by special rules and regulations. Some federal employees, who are not entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), still may be entitled to overtime pay under Title 5. Some forms of government pay, such as and administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO), are available under Title 5 but not the FLSA.
AUO is a form of premium pay that is paid on an annual basis to an employee in a position in which the hours of duty cannot be controlled administratively and which requires substantial amounts of irregular, unscheduled overtime work, with the employee generally being responsible for recognizing, without supervision, circumstances which require the employee to remain on duty. AUO varies between 10 and 25 percent of an employee’s basic rate of pay. Regularly scheduled overtime hours continue to be compensated in accordance with the Federal Employees Pay Act (FEPA).
ERO personnel may be promoted to supervisory, managerial and executive positions in addition to higher grade non-supervisory positions that specialize in specific subject matter.
A career ladder promotion is contingent upon satisfactory performance and the satisfactory completion of all requirements and duties.
You qualify at the GL-7 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience performing duties such as:
- training in criminal or civil investigative principles and techniques;
- applying laws and rules associated with criminal or civil procedures, searches, seizures, arrests, and rules of evidence; and (or),
- preparing investigative reports using clear and proper written language.
You qualify at the GL-9 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience performing duties such as:
- observing and participating in various phases of investigations;
- researching and analyzing records, data, and other material related to investigative cases;
- interviewing individuals to verify facts and obtain specific information;
- obtaining signed statements, affidavits and documentary evidence to be included in reports or case records;
- interviewing witnesses and others, both informally and formally in recorded settings; and (or),
- searching and analyzing various forms of records.
Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.
Officers are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs, including:
- Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program
- Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
- Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)
- Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)
Note that you may be eligible to keep your health insurance in retirement and pay the same subsidized premium as you did as an employee. Learn more about the continued health insurance benefits for you and your family in retirement.
Federal life insurance programs available to officers include:
Employees who retire from ICE can count on the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to enjoy life after working. FERS includes the following three streams of income:
- Thrift Savings Plan: Similar to a 401(k) plan, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings related benefits that workers in the private sector enjoy with 401(k) plans. Contributions to the plan are automatically deducted from each paycheck, the amount which is chosen by employees, and is transferable if you change employers. An additional benefit to the TSP is employer matching contributions; up to 5% of your base salary. Learn more
- FERS Basic Annuity under special provisions: ICE employees that serve in federal government with at least 20 years of law enforcement service are eligible for the generous FERS basic annuity. This guaranteed lifetime pension, paid to retirees is a percentage of your highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. Learn more
- Social Security: You receive social security retirement payments, the benefits of which are transferable when you change employers. Learn more
Law Enforcement 6(c) Retirement Coverage: Being in a frontline position at ICE qualifies you for 6(c) retirement coverage. What does that mean? 6(c) retirement coverage means you can retire at any age after 25 years of service or at age 50 with at least 20 years of service. 6(c) eligibility is a factor for determining your FERS basic annuity.