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Inspections and Compliance Specialist Position

Inspections and Compliance Specialist Position

Inspections and Compliance Specialist Position

I value the opportunity to use my law enforcement skills to enforce the nation's immigration laws in a fair and effective manner.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is responsible for upholding the agency’s professional standards through a multi-disciplinary approach of security, inspections and investigations. ICE's OPR Inspections and Detention Oversight Division (IDO) is primarily responsible for conducting and overseeing internal inspections, audits, and reviews of each ICE component, program, and office. IDO provides ICE executive management with independent, objective reviews of ICE office and program performance by assessing compliance with federal law, applicable policies and procedures, and the agency’s own detention standards. The work that IDO Inspection and Compliance Specialists (ICSs) perform is vital to ensuring accountability across ICE offices and programs, as well as establishing and maintaining public trust in the agency.

IDO ICSs travel frequently to conduct site visits and write detailed reports on their findings for dissemination to senior ICE management and other stakeholders. Employees work in teams throughout the inspections process, with both federal and contract staff.

IDO employs ICSs across three units: the External Reviews and Analysis Unit (ERAU), the Office of Detention Oversight (ODO) Unit and the Management Inspections Unit (MIU).

External Reviews and Analysis Unit

ERAU oversees the DHS Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit Program, which entails auditing ICE detention and overnight holding facilities that have adopted the DHS PREA Standards for compliance. ERAU also conducts Detainee Death Reviews (DDRs), which are independent, objective examinations of the facts and circumstances surrounding the detention and death of an individual in ICE custody to determine whether the agency and detention facility complied with detention standards related to the individual’s health, safety, and security.

Office of Detention Oversight

ODO inspects ICE detention facilities to determine compliance with ICE detention standards, policies, and procedures. ODO focuses on areas related to detainee life, health, and safety, the preservation of detainee civil rights and civil liberties, and the facility’s overall compliance with ICE detention standards.

Management Inspections Unit

MIU is responsible for assessing ICE offices’ compliance with DHS, ICE, and program-specific policies and procedures.

  • MIU 287(g) Inspections Section: Responsible for assessing ICE’s and law enforcement agency partners’ compliance with 287(g) program policies and requirements, as well as the effectiveness of ICE field offices in supervising and supporting those programs.
  • MIU Self-Inspection Program: Designs, implements, and administers the SIP to all ICE offices as a proactive tool to assess compliance with DHS, ICE, and program-specific policies and procedures.
  • MIU Field Inspections Section: Conducts comprehensive, independent reviews of domestic and international ICE offices and programs to ensure that they maintain their operational integrity and efficiency.


  • “I like what we do because it is a constantly evolving challenge.”
  • “I like this office because we are the voice for detainees.”
  • “I feel I make a difference in ensuring detainees in the detention system are being treated fairly and humanely, and that detention facilities are being held accountable.”
  • “The work conducted by ODO inspectors ensures that detainees’ civil rights are not being violated.”
  • “International travel is challenging and rewarding. Each office presents a different opportunity based on its location and the chance to interact with local officials.”
  • “Performing inspections that deal with 15 administrative and operational areas provides a plethora of opportunities to expand your experience and knowledge base.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Career FAQs


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How to apply for a position at ICE

Application Process

Apply Online

Applications for Inspections and Compliance Specialist 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.

Basic Eligibility

  • U.S. citizenship
  • For males born after 12/31/1959, Selective Service registration is required.

Exam and Test Preparation

Inspections and Compliance Specialist applicants may be required to take a pre-employment writing assessment. All requirements will be listed in the vacancy announcement posted online through the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USAJOBS website.


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).

Determine whether you qualify for veterans' preference


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.

Panel Interview

Prospective hires generally participate in a panel interview with ICE personnel and may be asked to participate in a second interview.

Drug Testing

Pursuant to Executive Order 12564, and the DHS Drug-Free Workplace Plan, ICE is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace and, therefore, personnel in safety- or security-sensitive positions (testing designated positions) are subject to random drug testing. Moreover, other drug testing of employees (e.g., reasonable suspicion drug test) may be conducted in order to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. All applicants tentatively selected for employment at ICE are subject to pre-employment drug testing and a final offer of employment is contingent upon a negative drug test result.

Physical and Environmental Conditions

The normal work environment is in an office setting. Site visits may involve exposure to moderate risk situations, some discomforts, unpleasant working conditions, and adverse weather conditions, such as hot, cold, dry and/or wet conditions. Safety or security precautions sometimes are necessary, and the employee may have to use special clothing or gear. May be required to work long and irregular hours, on weekends and at night, depending on travel and site visit schedules.

The work occasionally requires moderately strenuous physical exertion, which may include periods of standing and walking and lifting document boxes and equipment/supplies. Work involves the possibility of group disturbance and may require quick decision-making to ensure safety.

Background/Security Investigation

The position requires incumbents to obtain and maintain a Secret clearance. 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.

Competitive Pay

ICSs 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.
  • Locality Pay: You may receive pay on top of your salary, depending on your permanent duty station. Navigate the General Schedule & 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

Career Progression

When promotion potential is shown, the agency is not making a commitment and is not obligated to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Future promotions will be dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the continuing need for an employee assigned to the higher level, and administrative approval.

You qualify for the GS-09 grade level if you possess one of the following:

  • Experience: One (1) year of specialized experience at the GS-07 grade level or equivalent performing duties such as
    • Applying inspection and compliance principles, concepts, methodologies, laws, regulations, guidelines and/or practices in daily activities;
    • Documenting investigation findings and witness statements; and
    • Researching data using prescribed methods.
  • Education: A master's (or equivalent graduate degree such as an L.L.B/J.D.) or two academic years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree.

  • Combination of Education and Experience: A combination of successfully completed post-high school education and experience. This will be calculated using your resume and unofficial transcripts or a list of courses/course hours submitted with your application.

Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.

Health Benefits, Insurance and Retirement

  • Medical
    The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help you and your family meet your health care needs. Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country.
  • Dental and Vision
    Dental and vision benefits are available to eligible federal employees, retirees, and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. The Federal Employees Dental/Vision (FEDVIP) Program allows dental insurance and vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means competitive premiums (withheld on a pre-tax basis) and no pre-existing condition limitations.
  • Thrift Savings Plan
    The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a tax-deferred retirement savings and investment plan and is similar to a 401(k). By participating in the TSP, federal employees have the opportunity to save part of their income for retirement, receive matching agency contributions, and reduce their current taxes.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
    The Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) is a savings account that helps you pay for items that typically are not covered (for out-of-pocket medical or dependent care expenses).
  • Life Insurance
    The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) provides group term life insurance, which consists of basic life insurance coverage and three additional options. In most cases, if you are a new federal employee, you are automatically covered by basic life insurance and your payroll office deducts premiums from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage.
  • Long-term Care Insurance
    The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program provides an important benefit that can help pay long-term care expenses you may incur in the future.
  • Retirement Plan
    It’s never too late to plan for retirement and it’s never too early to learn about your retirement options.

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.