Border guards are federal law enforcement officials who are specifically tasked with helping to maintain a country's secure borders. They must ensure that all individuals passing into and out of the country at border checkpoints possess proper documentation to do so, and may also search these individuals for compliance to customs laws and the importation of contraband or illegal items. They may also help apprehend persons illegally attempting to cross a national border without authorization.
Most border guards are assigned to high-traffic way-points and check stations along highway and road routes which cross borders between countries. When assigned to this circumstance, they serve as part of a vigilant team which assesses possible security threats posed by individuals coming and going. They may stop cars proceeding through checkpoints to engage occupants and ask for identification and documentation, and may detain individuals and vehicles and conduct searches when probable cause or reasonable suspicion of possession of illegal substances exist.
Border guards can also be assigned to other points of entry to a country to work with customs law enforcement, such as in airports or ship ports where passenger activity is expected. Again, the guard is primarily interested in ensuring that persons entering the country do so legally in every possible way.
Border guards may also be assigned to work in teams for border enforcement where typical traffic patterns do not exist, but illegal crossing activity may occur. In these cases, they help apprehend those who illegally cross and detain/question them before turning them over to immigration enforcement authorities.
To work as a border guard, a person must have extensive law enforcement training, and most countries require a security check for applicants. Border guards also undergo on-the-job training, and many have military experience, as well. Border guards are typically assigned shift work which can include days, evenings, or nights, as well as weekend and holiday responsibilities.