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  3. Border Security
  4. Overview

Border Security Overview

Protecting our borders from the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people, while promoting lawful entry and exit, is essential to homeland security, economic prosperity, and national sovereignty.

America shares 7,000 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico, as well as rivers, lakes and coastal waters around the country. These borders are important economic gateways that account for trillions of dollars in trade and travel each year. They are also home to some of our nation’s largest — and safest — cities and communities.

A top priority for DHS is to keep terrorists and their weapons from entering the U.S. while welcoming all legitimate travelers and commerce. DHS Officers and Agents enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling, and illegal importation. DHS deploys highly trained law enforcement personnel who apprehend more than 1,000 individuals each day for suspected violations of U.S. laws at and between our ports of entry.

DHS works to secure our borders through personnel, technology, and infrastructure; as well as working closely with Canada and Mexico, and our many federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.

CBP Border Patrol agents, agriculture specialists, Air and Marine Agents, and Officers guard America’s front lines. These men and women prevent terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States while continuing their mission of seizing contraband and apprehending criminals and others who illegally attempt to enter the United States.

Through increases in Border Patrol staffing; construction of new infrastructure and fencing; use of technology–including sensors, radar, and aerial assets–investments to modernize the ports of entry; and stronger partnerships and information sharing, we are creating a safer, more secure, and more efficient border environment.

On a typical day at our borders in FY18, DHS:


  • 1,107 apprehensions between U.S. ports of entry
  • 75 arrests of wanted criminals at U.S. ports of entry
  • 764 refusals of inadmissible persons at U.S. ports of entry


  • 319 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,552 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil


  • 4,657 pounds of narcotics; disrupted 171 pounds of narcotics
  • $290,411 in undeclared or illicit currency
  • $3.7 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations


  • 16 fraudulent documents

Almost a million times each day, DHS employees welcome international travelers into the U.S. In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, DHS uses a variety of techniques to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

Expanding Trusted Traveler Programs increases the ability to quickly facilitate known, low risk "trusted travelers" arriving into the United States. This makes it faster and easier for millions of visitors and business people to cross the border while allowing DHS Officers and Agents additional time to focus on higher risk, unknown travelers.

On a typical day at our borders in FY18, DHS processed:

  • 1,133,914 passengers and pedestrians
  • 358,448 incoming international air passengers and crew
    • 78,912 passengers and crew on arriving ship/boat
    • 696,555 incoming land travelers
  • 285,925 incoming privately–owned vehicles
  • 81,438 truck, rail, and sea containers
  • $7.7 billion worth of imported products
  • 95,890 entries of merchandise at our air, land, and sea ports of entry
  • $144 million in duties, taxes and other fees, including more than $133 million in duties
Last Updated: 05/18/2022
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