Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

If you have been charged with the illegal importation of narcotics, smuggled goods, or assisting someone in entering the U.S. illegally, you have probably been under investigation by Special Agents or Officers assigned to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Who Is Customs Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the United States Department of Homeland Security border security agency focusing on maintaining the integrity of the nation’s boundaries and ports of entry. Three CBP component organizations are responsible for different missions of enforcement.

CBP search authority can be found in Title 19 of the United States Code, Sections 482, 1467, 1496, 1581 and 1582. All persons, baggage, and other merchandise arriving in or leaving the United States are subject to inspection and seach by CBP officers.

U.S. Border Patrol Agents

The Border Patrol is the mobile, uniformed law enforcement arm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for securing U.S. borders between ports of entry. The Border Patrol patrols 7,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international borders and 5,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and Puerto Rico island. Agents work 24 hours a day in various terrain and weather conditions.

CBP Officers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mission is to screen all foreign visitors, returning American citizens and imported cargo that enters the U.S. at over 300 land, air and sea ports. CBP officers at Ports of Entry (POEs) screen individuals seeking entry into the U.S. to determine admissibility. CBP officers are responsible for determining the nationality and identity of each applicant for admission and preventing entry of ineligible aliens, including criminals, terrorists, and drug traffickers.

CBP Office of Air and Marine

The CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) deploys 1200 Special Agents operating over 260 aircraft and 280 marine vessels from 83 locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico and deploys aircraft and coastal enforcement and riverine maritime vessels to air and marine branches and units throughout the country to provide rapid air and marine response capabilities in critical isolated mountainous terrain, deep canyons and remote areas.

Customs Border Protection Powers of Enforcement

Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1357 The Attorney General of the U.S. may prescribe special agents and officers of Customs and Border Protection to:

  • Arrest any alien who in his presence or view is entering or attempting to enter the U.S.
  • Arrest any alien without a warrant whom they have reason to believe is illegally the U.S.
  • Interrogate any person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the U.S.
  • Board and search for aliens on any vessel, railway car, aircraft, or vehicle within the U.S.
  • Make arrests for any felony offense against the U.S. committed in their presence
  • Execute warrants, subpoena, summons, issued under the authority of the United States.
  • Carry firearms for the purpose of performing the duties

Border Patrol Agent – CBP Officer Responsibilities

  • Detect and prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the U.S.
  • Prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S.
  • Responding to electronic sensors and television systems.
  • Interpreting and following tracks, marks and physical evidence.
  • Prevent criminals, and drug traffickers from entering the U.S.
  • Apprehend people found in violation of the immigration laws.
  • Enforcing customs, immigration, and agriculture laws.
  • Enforce drug, export control, money laundering laws.
  • Screen imported cargo entering the U.S.
  • Processes travelers at Ports of Entry.