Following the terrorist attack against the United States on September 11, 2001, the United States Congress came to a decision that it was vital to augment the safety measures of the nation’s borders in order to avert any potential terrorist attacks. Prior to the attack, the issue of border security was actually a mandate of a number of different centralized departments. These are the following: the Department of Agriculture, Justice, Transportation, as well as the Treasury Department. Most of these federal agencies that operated along the U.S. borders were consolidated under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
Consequently, these agencies located at the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security (BTS) were given the responsibility to protect the borders. These include terminals, the entire aquatic transportation network, air, watercourses, land, as well as all the positions of entry into the United States.
By and large, the BTS is largely made up of core agencies, one of which is the CBP, which runs inspections, commercial operations, as well as all the tasks relating to land border patrol. The other agency is the ICE. The main function of the ICE is to supervise inquiries, foreign incarcerations and eliminations, federal protective services, as well as air and maritime drug prohibition procedures. The third agency is the TSA, whose main role is to protect the nation’s air, land, as well as the railway transportation systems against all forms of attack. This makes certain that there will be no restrictions on movement not only for the United States populace, but for trade as well.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
The CBP’s main role involves the prevention of terrorists from entering the country and their weapons from getting access to the country. The agency is also involved in the provision of security at all U.S. borders as well as ports of entry. It also takes illegal immigrants for questioning, restricts the movement of illicit drugs as well as defends American fiscal and agricultural interests from detrimental pests and maladies.
In line with its official activities, the CBP upholds two overarching and at times differing goals. These include boosting security while at the same time aiding lawful commerce and travel. In addition to this, a key component of the CBP, also known as the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), works to put into effect the United States federal as well as immigration laws at all the border points. The USBP never sleeps.
The USBP officials work on horseback, sea, air, and land in order to defend the United States. Over the past couple of years, its mandate has been increased to include working inside the interior of the United States. It carries out its mandate by monitoring roads and airports where there are high concentrations of illegal immigrants.
The main role of the USBP is to identify and stop terrorists at the border, and to prevent weapons of mass destruction, and illegal immigrants from entering the country. In the course of carrying out its responsibilities, the USBP watches over thousands of miles of the international borders that the U.S. shares with countries like Canada and Mexico, as well as the coastal beaches around Puerto Rico and Florida.
At all administrative points of entry, the CBP is charged with the responsibility of carrying out customs, immigrations, as well as agricultural examination of all the foreigners entering the United States. In line with this, the agency puts in force immigration regulations by carrying out examinations as well as authentications of all travel documents of international travelers entering into the country. This is very effective in ensuring that all of them are officially permitted to enter the United States.
When it comes to the issue of customs, the CBP is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all the imports and exports are in compliance with all the U.S. laws and regulations. In this regard, the officials gather and look after the revenues. They also ensure that no contraband products gain entry into the country. Additionally, the CBP carries out agricultural checks at all the ports of entry in order to put into effect a number of plant and animal defense laws.
Additionally, the CBP coordinates with other government agencies in the United States, as well as other global partners to spot potential risks, identify and avert contaminated food or agricultural products from causing harm to the American populace, or the national economy at large.
United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one of the agencies involved in coastal and border security of the United States. It mainly works under the Department of Homeland Security, with its key responsibilities being discovering, inspecting and dismantling susceptibilities with regard to U.S. border, transport, fiscal and infrastructural security. With its headquarters in Washington, D.C., ICE is made up of large components which include Enforcement and Removal Operations as well as the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The main responsibility of ICE is to detect and prevent terrorist and criminal acts. It usually does this by targeting individuals, resources, as well as equipments which are utilized to sustain criminal and terrorist set of connections. Additionally, the ICE maintains attaches at major U.S. embassies all over the world. It also investigates and enforces 400 federal statutes within the United States. In this way, the ICE is actually a vital component as far as the U.S. border security is concerned.
Unlike the CBP, whose influence is limited to enforcing law and order along the United States border, the ICE has exceptional agents who carry out investigations on immigrations as well as custom contraventions inside the United States. It is also involved in exposing national security threats including weapons of mass destruction or would-be terrorists. It is also charged with the key responsibility of spotting criminal foreigners for deportation, investigating immigration-related documents and benefit rackets as well as desecrations involving work-site immigrations.
In broader terms, the ICE is also in charge of gathering, examining, and circulating tactical and deliberate intelligence information regarding homeland security, fortification of the infrastructure, and unlawful movement of funds, consignments and individuals inside the country. On the whole, the ICE is largely responsible for securing well over 8,000 national amenities all over the United States through the FPS.
Led by a director, ICE is actually one of the leading criminal investigations agencies in the United States. Currently, the agency has more than 7,000 criminal investigators whose principal role is to thwart the activities of international criminal networks with the intentions of taking advantage of the nation’s legitimate fiscal, commerce, and travel systems. In collaboration with the HSI, the ICE also carries out investigations involving human trafficking, immigration fraud, illegitimate employment offenses, child sex tourism and abuse, and intellectual property contraventions.
Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud Investigations
The ICE, in collaboration with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre (IPR Centre), is instrumental in averting intellectual property rights and commercial racket desecrations which threaten the fiscal stability of the nation. If not checked, such activities are likely to have a great impact on the competitiveness of the industries in the United States, as well as jeopardize the public well-being and security. In this regard, the ICE has been effective in carrying out commercial fraud investigations, arrests, as well as indictments. As a matter of fact, the agency was able to seize illegal goods with a net worth running into millions of dollars last year.
Visa Security Program (VSP)
In order to prevent illegal entry, the Visa Security Program works in conjunction with the ICE to carry out visa security activities. This is very instrumental in recognizing possible scandalous threats or terrorists even before they set foot in the United States. In this way, individuals with special interests are scrutinized before entering the country. One of the main aims of the agency is to screen all visa applicants and spot the patterns and probable security risks through the use of technology.
Counter Proliferation Investigations (ICI)
Another key responsibility of the ICE is to lead all the efforts by the government in preventing the enemies of the United States from illegitimately having access to U.S. military hardware, sensitive data, as well as the components of weapons of mass destruction. Following the launch of “Project Global Shield” initiative in 2010, the ICE came up with measures aimed at combating illegal cross-border diversions and transportation of precursor chemicals utilized by terrorists to fabricate volatile devises.