U.S. Customs and Border Protection
All individuals attempting to enter the U.S. must first demonstrate their admissibility to U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"). This applies to all foreign nationals, including those who have already been issued a visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, as well as those who are visa-exempt.
Part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CBP is the largest uniformed law enforcement agency in the United States, with 18,000 officers stationed at access points nationwide. It is the agency responsible for protecting the borders of the U.S. and, therefore, controls access to the country. CBP is responsible for protecting the nation’s 325 ports of entry and enforcing hundreds of laws designed to protect citizens and commerce. Among the laws CBP must enforce are the immigration laws of the U.S. In carrying out its immigration enforcement duties, CBP can question, investigate, and detain arriving aliens at U.S. ports of entry.
The U.S. Border Patrol (“BP”) is part of CBP. Whereas CBP is charged with border enforcement at ports of entry, BP is responsible for patrolling the areas at and around international land borders. The primary mission of BP is “the detection and apprehension of illegal aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border.” The BP focuses on enforcing immigration laws in areas near ports of entry, and has jurisdiction to investigate, arrest, and detain aliens within 99 miles of land borders. Some of BP’s major enforcement activities include maintaining traffic checkpoints along highways leading from border areas, conducting city patrol and transportation check, and anti-smuggling investigations.
Over 1.2 million people enter the U.S. each day. Over 600,000 of these individuals are foreign nationals. CBP is responsible for inspecting and admitting each of these individuals. According to CBP’s website, an average of 868 non-citizens are refused entry every day. Additionally, CBP makes 62 arrests at Ports of Entry (“POE”) each day. On average, CBP also intercepts over 200 fraudulent documents per day.
These activities relates only to CBP’s enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. In addition to enforcing immigration laws, CBP is also responsible for enforcing the laws of the U.S. in the following areas:
· Commerce & Trade
· Crimes & Criminal Procedure
· Food & Drug
· Foreign Relations
· Internal Revenue Code
· Intoxicating Liquors
· Money & Finance
· Postal Service
· Public Health & Welfare
CBP enforces these laws through the inspection process. Each individual who attempts to enter the U.S., whether citizen or noncitizen, is subject to inspection by CBP officers. CBP will conduct the immigration, customs, and agricultural components of the inspection process at the port of entry.
To read more about CBP, visit their website at: http://www.cbp.gov/
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