Until March 2003, the United States Customs Service was an agency of the U.S. federal government that collected import tariffs and performed other selected border security duties. At that time, it was dissolved to form part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The United States Customs Service had three major missions:
- Collecting tariff revenue
- Protecting the U.S. economy from smuggling and illegal goods
- Processing people and goods at ports of entry
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security is responsible for regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including trade, drug and immigration laws.
The primary mission of the agency is preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. The agency is also responsible for apprehending individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally, stemming the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband, protecting the United States agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases, and protecting American businesses from theft of their intellectual property.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection works closely with its sister agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is responsible for long-term investigations of criminal and terrorist organizations seeking to penetrate American border security. These cases include the smuggling of narcotics, goods, weapons, and humans into the United States.
Visit the U.S. Customs website for more information.
U.S. Border Patrol
The United States Border Patrol is a federal law enforcement agency within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. Border Patrol Agents are responsible for immigration and border law enforcement. Border Patrol Agents prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States and deter, detect, and apprehend illegal aliens and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who enter the United States other than through designated ports of entry.