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  • Questions regarding foreign languages

    Sorry, I'm not too familiar with these boards so I hope this is the correct section for this.

    I have several questions.

    Firstly... do federal law enforcement agencies place a high value (in terms of recruitment, hiring) on foreign language proficiency? By proficiency, I mean near native fluent. Let's use Arabic as an example. Are there any federal law enforcement agencies that desire Arabic fluency more than others? Possibly the FBI?

    Lastly, would foreign residency abroad (Middle East) go a long way a federal law enforcement employment application?

    Thanks for reading.

  • #2
    For sure. Border patrol requires a professional level of Spanish fluency. Mandarin, Arabic, and Farsi are all listed as critical language skills on the FBI and DEA's webpages.... I would have no idea which agency valued it most.

    Extended foreign residency (while necessary to develop language skills) is a catch 22 because generally the time abroad is in a country unfriendly to the USA, which makes backgrounds/clearances tough to adjudicate.

    Every so often, a newspaper prints an article about the fact that the FBI only has 6 native Arabic speakers on the payroll. The usual counterpoint is that since most people who speak fluent Arabic are born outside the USA, and have significant foreign ties/contacts, they can't be hired by the FBI.

    Having said that, I wasn't born in the USA and I lived in the middle east for years. Doubt it helped much, but it wasn't a negative issue in the TS/SCI clearance process.

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    • #3
      Absolutely. I casually know a guy who is fluent in one of the major Middle Eastern dialects. He's a college grad and the navy tried real hard to recruit him as an intel officer.

      Do you speak Arabic and did you live in the M E for a number of years? If so, I would think a number of depts would be interested in you.

      What's your education background? Most federal agencies want four year degrees.

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      • #4
        What dialect of Arabic do you speak or are you just studying Middle Eastern cultures? Big difference there. However your past drug usage you have mentioned in previous threads and the medical issues might play a hinderance in the hiring process into LE.

        Being a native speaker means, you are from the Middle East for example. Being fluent in a language is just that, you can speak it and possibly write the language out. Best of luck.
        "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

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        • #5
          deleted...
          Last edited by thermal; 11-22-2010, 10:45 AM.

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          • #6
            Yes to Arabic, and Yes to living in the ME. Close to about one year living abroad.

            As for education, I have a bachelor's in Near Eastern studies with a focus on linguistics and culture.

            Originally posted by just joe View Post
            Absolutely. I casually know a guy who is fluent in one of the major Middle Eastern dialects. He's a college grad and the navy tried real hard to recruit him as an intel officer.

            Do you speak Arabic and did you live in the M E for a number of years? If so, I would think a number of depts would be interested in you.

            What's your education background? Most federal agencies want four year degrees.

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            • #7
              I speak Jordanian, but understand all dialects centrally located in the ME. I study ME linguistics and culture.

              I mentioned earlier near native fluency. By that, I mean I speak the language close to the same ability of a native speaker. Yes, I can read and write very well.

              As for any usage issues that I mentioned previously, I'm confident that I can explain my actions and usage in clear terms. I think the 5 or 6+ years since prior usage should show it was only adolescent experimenting at most.

              Originally posted by irishlad2nv View Post
              What dialect of Arabic do you speak or are you just studying Middle Eastern cultures? Big difference there. However your past drug usage you have mentioned in previous threads and the medical issues might play a hinderance in the hiring process into LE.

              Being a native speaker means, you are from the Middle East for example. Being fluent in a language is just that, you can speak it and possibly write the language out. Best of luck.

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              • #8
                That is interesting that you mention DEA. I'm very interested in that.

                My time abroad was in a ME country that has very close ties and relations with the US.

                I was born in the U.S. as well.

                Originally posted by JI603 View Post
                For sure. Border patrol requires a professional level of Spanish fluency. Mandarin, Arabic, and Farsi are all listed as critical language skills on the FBI and DEA's webpages.... I would have no idea which agency valued it most.

                Extended foreign residency (while necessary to develop language skills) is a catch 22 because generally the time abroad is in a country unfriendly to the USA, which makes backgrounds/clearances tough to adjudicate.

                Every so often, a newspaper prints an article about the fact that the FBI only has 6 native Arabic speakers on the payroll. The usual counterpoint is that since most people who speak fluent Arabic are born outside the USA, and have significant foreign ties/contacts, they can't be hired by the FBI.

                Having said that, I wasn't born in the USA and I lived in the middle east for years. Doubt it helped much, but it wasn't a negative issue in the TS/SCI clearance process.
                Last edited by crazybuck13; 01-28-2010, 06:15 PM.

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                • #9
                  You asked a general question, so they general answer is: Yes, foreign language ability is looked upon as a desirable qualification for any LE agency, local or federal.

                  Specifically, ICE definitely has a need for people with foreign language ability, since the majority of ICE cases have some foreign elements.
                  Before science, it was believed that autumn was caused by Chuck Norris simultaneously roundhouse kicking every tree on the planet.

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