Customs Immigration

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Customs immigration is now the bailiwick of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the major investigative, law enforcement bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE is an amalgamation of the responsibilities of several former agencies, including the old Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Through its various offices, ICE has extensive law enforcement powers that cover a wide range of crimes and violations.

The Office of Air and Marine Operations protects the borders and citizens from smuggling of people, narcotics, and other contraband. It has at its disposal air and sea forces for interdiction of criminal activity. An Office of Federal Protective Service is responsible for securing federal buildings and property by reducing threats against them. Although ICE is concerned with many activities surrounding immigration to America, it is with the enforcement aspect, not the services and benefits.

Customs Immigration Enforcement

The Office of Detention and Removal provides custody of removable aliens, facilitates their movement through the court, and ensures their departure from this country. Interior enforcement of customs immigration laws involves cooperation with communities and law enforcement to resolve their problems resulting from smuggling or trafficking in human beings. Immigration fraud of all sorts is targeted, as is employers' use of undocumented workers.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) has been developed to collect, store, and manage information about foreign students and other exchange persons while they are in the United States. The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program permits governmental agencies at all levels to obtain customs immigration information that enables them to determine a person's status and entitlement to certain benefits.

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