POSTED: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 11:27am
UPDATED: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 8:29pm
EL PASO- The Border Patrol is looking for new agents to fill out its ranks, and it looks like El Pasoans are answering the call.
The Border Patrol says the turnout might break records.
A stint at Fort Bliss first brought him to El Paso. Now, Gilbert Vargas wants to stay for good, and he's looking for a new job.
"I like El Paso. It's a growing place, there's a lot of military expansion over here, and I want to put my military skills into the Border Patrol," he says.
The military vet has been working locally as a detention officer, but says the Border Patrol is his next step.
"It'd be great because it's more rewarding, it's more challenging, it's more military based and that's what I'm looking for," says Vargas.
His assessment isn't unique. A career protecting the border is in high demand. Since holding a career fair last week, the Border Patrol has seen close to 400 people apply for positions with the agency.
That number far exceeded border patrol expectations, so new applications will be accepted until Thursday at 7 p.m.
"A lot of people have friends and family in the Border Patrol and they're able to talk personally with them and hear about some of the good experiences you're able to have, and how they're able to make a difference in the community and the nation," says Border Patrol Agent Scott Hayes.
So that's reason number one for the high turnout. Another is a sour economy. Agents have stable positions, good benefits, and solid pay starting at $38,000 per year.
It's enough to make Gilbert study hard for the written exam and work out for the physical one.
"I've been trying to get in here now for a while and I've been practicing for it, so this time I'm ready for it," he told us.
At 45 to 1 odds of being accepted, he'll need all the practice he can get.