A man trying proceed through a border checkpoimt with a gun tucked in the back of his pants is instructed to place his hands on his head during a border crossing drill. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

It looks just like an airport customs checkpoint.

Role players wait in lines, each playing different travelers that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer is likely to encounter. Some may be playing the role of refugee, others are told to act as though they’re hiding something sinister.

The actors have detailed instructions, like to smile and flirt with the CBP trainee, or their script may call for them to avoid eye contact, bite their nails, and appear to be nervous.

“Mr. Madison, can you step aside for me for one second?” one trainee asks a traveler. “Someone’s going to come and escort you to secondary, they’re going to ask you some more questions.”

A CBP trainer watching over the candidate’s shoulder cracks a grin of approval and informs the officer in training that she successfully sidelined a would-be smuggler.

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