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  6. The Life Saving Missions of CBP

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In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

The Life Saving Missions of CBP

Release Date: August 20, 2018

Bottom Line:  With more than 60,000 employees, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is one of the world's largest law enforcement organizations and is charged with securing our borders while facilitating lawful international travel and trade. As the United States’ first unified border entity, CBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity.

First, CBP is responsible for securing approximately 7,000 miles of land border, 95,000 miles of shoreline, 328 ports of entry, and the associated air and maritime space from the illegal entry of people and contraband into the United States.  The border environment in which CBP works is dynamic and requires continual adaptation to respond to emerging threats and changing conditions. 

  • To enhance CBP's capability in southwest border sectors, the Department of Defense (DOD), in conjunction with border state governors, has deployed the National Guard to assist in stopping the flow of deadly drugs and other contraband, gang members and other criminals, and illegal aliens into this country. 
    • There are currently 2,212 Department of Defense personnel supporting the mission to secure the Southwest border.
    • The Deployment of the National Guard has contributed to:
      • Removable alien arrests – 14,644
      • Marijuana Seized (lbs) – 14,243
      • Cocaine Seized (lbs) – 17
  • CBP hosts monthly briefings/teleconferences with federal, state, and local partners regarding the current state of the border – both northern and southern– to monitor emerging trends and threats and provide a cross-component, multi-agency venue for discussing trends and threats.
  • CBP is building more border wall right now than has been funded in a decade.
    • El Centro Pedestrian Fence Replacement Project (2.25 miles):
      • More than 2 miles already built with construction on schedule for completion in October 2018.
    • El Paso Vehicle Barrier Replacement Project (20 miles):
      • Nearly 13 miles of new wall already built with construction on schedule for completion in March 2019.
    • San Diego Primary Pedestrian Fence Replacement Project (14 miles):
      • More than 4 miles already built with construction on schedule for completion in May 2019.
    • El Paso Pedestrian Fence Replacement Project (4 miles):
      • Construction remains on track to start in September.
  • On a typical day in 2017 CBP conducted:
    • 851 apprehensions between U.S. ports of entry
    • 21 arrests of wanted criminals at U.S. ports of entry
    • 592 refusals of inadmissible persons  at U.S. ports of entry

Second, CBP plays a critical role in preventing dangerous drugs, including opioids, from reaching the American public.

  • CBP leverages targeting and intelligence-driven strategies, and works in close coordination with our interagency and international partners as part of our multi-layered, risk-based approach to enhance the security of our borders and our country. 
  • In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 the efforts of Office of Field Operations (OFO) and U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) personnel resulted in the seizure of more than 545,000 lbs. of narcotics including over 38,000 lbs. of methamphetamine, over 35,000 lbs. of cocaine, and over 2,700 lbs. of heroin. In the transit zones, CBP’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) disrupted 84,813 pounds of cocaine in FY 18.
    • CBP seizures of illicit fentanyl have significantly increased from approximately two lbs. seized in FY 2013 to approximately 1,131 lbs. seized by OFO and USBP in FY 2017.
    • Approximately 1,218 lbs. of illicit fentanyl have already been seized in FY 2018.  Fentanyl is the most frequently seized illicit synthetic opioid, but CBP has also encountered and identified 21 new fentanyl analogues crossing our borders through laboratory testing by CBP forensic scientists.  
  • CBP operates within nine major International Mail Facilities (IMF) inspecting international mail arriving from more than 180 countries, as well as 25 Express Carrier Consignment Facility (ECCF) located throughout the United States.
    • Just recently, CBP officers working at an ECCF in Cincinnati intercepted a package from Malaysia en-route to Texas, manifested as “clothing.” The package contained a single dress. Upon further inspection of the dress, a small anomaly sewn into the lining was discovered.  The lining of the dress was cut open and an object wrapped in paper towel was discovered.  The small package contained approximately .75 lbs. of heroin.
  • At ports of entry and in the international mail and express consignment environments, CBP utilizes technology, such as non-intrusive inspection (NII), x-ray, and gamma ray imaging systems to detect the illegal transit of synthetic drugs hidden on people, in cargo containers, and in other conveyances entering the United States. 
    • Since October of 2010, CBP has conducted more than 83 million NII examinations, resulting in more than 18,500 narcotics seizures, and more than $79 million in currency seizures.  

Third, CBP works to secure and facilitate imports arriving in the U.S., accommodating the increasing volume and complexities of international trade. CBP protects U.S. agricultural resources through active inspections at ports of entry.

  • With the Container Security Initiative, Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, ten industry-based Centers of Excellence and Expertise, and the Automated Commercial Environment, CBP has a sturdy base of partnerships and technology to safeguard the American public and promote legitimate international commerce.
  • Approximately $4 trillion worth of international trade crosses our border every year.
  • CBP collected more than $40.1 billion in duties, taxes, and other fees in FY17.
  • As with travel, cargo volumes are up – particularly with the rise in electronic commerce shipments.
    • CBP processed $2.39 trillion in imports in FY17, equating to more than 28.5 million imported cargo containers at U.S. ports of entry – up by approximately 5 percent from FY16.
  • Driven by E-commerce, air cargo volumes are way up, with global air freight traffic climbing by nearly 8 percent year-over-year in November, the start of the peak shipping season.
    • Express cargo shipments in general, meanwhile, have increased by an astonishing 15 percent over FY16 levels – from 96 million bills to 110 million in FY17.
  • In compliance with the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, CBP is:
    • Protecting Americans from counterfeit products and unsafe imports;
    • Protecting our domestic industries by:
      • Denying entry to imports made with forced labor; and
      • Enforcing anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) regulations.
    • Leveraging CBP's scientific expertise and laboratory capabilities to apply cutting-edge forensic science to further support its trade enforcement mission.
  • On a typical day in 2017, CBP discovered:
    • 352 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,638 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil

Finally, over a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers, returning U.S. citizens, and over two million shipments into the United States. CBP secures and facilitates legitimate travel by growing trusted traveler programs, embracing business transformation initiatives, fostering public-private partnerships, and employing robust targeting and risk assessment strategies. Working closely with interagency and international partners, CBP keeps international travelers informed, secures the travel environment, and promotes modern global tourism.

  • CBP’s international programs and partnerships abroad extend the U.S. zone of security and facilitate legitimate travel.
  • On a typical day in 2017 CBP processed:
    • 1,088,300 passengers and pedestrians
    • 340,444 incoming international air passengers and crew
    • 55,709 passengers and crew on arriving ship/boat
    • 691,549 incoming land travelers
    • 283,664 incoming privately owned vehicles
    • 2,003,975 inbound shipments
    • 78,137 truck, rail, and sea containers
    • $6.5 billion worth of imported products
    • 90,959 entries of merchandise at our air, land, and sea ports of entry
    • $120.5 million in duties, taxes and other fees, including more than $94.8 million in duties
  • Every day, more than a million people arrive at our 328 U.S. ports of entry by air, land, and sea.  In FY17, that translated to more than 397 million international travelers.
    • International air travel to the United States jumped by 4.2 percent increase in just one year, from FY16 to FY17.  
  • As of December 1, 2017, CBP had more than 7 million Trusted Travelers.
  • Global Entry (GE) now has 4.8 million members, including the addition of 1.4 million new members in FY17.
    • GE kiosks are available at 58 U.S. airports. 
  • Other Trusted Traveler offerings include Automated Passport Control (APC) and Mobile Passport Control (MPC).
    • More than 56 million used APC kiosks in FY17 (more than 40 percent of all arriving air travelers).
    • APC is now available at 57 locations (all major U.S. airports and 12 Pre-clearance) – and recently it rolled it out on the ferry between San Juan and Santo Domingo;
    • MPC usage tripled from FY16 to FY17 to more than 2 million trips processed.
  • The Preclearance program is also instrumental in facilitating lawful travel, while pushing our zone of security outward. 
    • In FY 2017, CBP pre-cleared more than 19 million travelers – 16 percent of all inbound commercial air travel
Last Updated: 01/20/2021
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