Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - An Overview

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - An Overview

After September 11, 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was dealt with blows of criticism surrounding alleged incompetence in processing the terrorists’ visas. The political mood was ripe for a replacement agency: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS, in turn, consists of three agencies: the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

As opposed to 15,000 employees at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), many of whom work in field offices, CBP employs a staggering 44,000 employees, most of whom work out in the field. CBP employees can be found with binoculars to their eyes, scanning the U.S.-Mexico wall for signs of illegal aliens. CBP employees can be found alongside members of the U.S. Coastguard, gliding over the smooth waters of the Florida Everglades while looking for any suspicious vessel involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling. CBP Air Force members inspect the border by air. Other employees check cargo boxes on huge containment ships.

What Are the Goals of CBP?

Customs and Border Protection is responsible for admitting immigrants and maintaining a safe, secure border. CBP replaces INS Customs Inspectors, the Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Whereas ICE is the “immigration police” of the DHS, investigating suspicious activity, prosecuting crimes, deporting aliens, and interpreting immigration policy, CBP’s functions are somewhat more “hands-on.”

Customs officers can be found at all points of entry, processing over a million people per day. CBP employees lead dogs through baggage, sniffing out drugs. CBP agriculture specialists inspect various biological products to keep out harmful products violating importation laws. Customs and Border protection intellectual property specialists inspect items of trade such as handbags to keep out the “rip-offs.” Other CBP employees work to ensure the proper payment of import duties and fees. 

One of CBP’s chief goals is to identify high-risk people and products entering the country. This it does through a variety of public and secret methods depending also on the situation and circumstances.

Seeking Legal Help

If you have an issue concerning CBP, you should consult an immigration attorney.

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Last Modified: 04-16-2014 02:30 PM PDT

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