US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AGENCIES

Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

The Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established upon the merging of the US Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 2003 and now has become one the investigative and enforcement agencies under the Homeland Security agency. The agency enforces the laws on border control, including the enforcement of immigration laws on trade and customs. Its primary components include two departments, namely the Enforcement and Removal Operations and the Homeland Security Investigations. The federal law enforcement agency.

The primary concern of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the enforcement of immigration laws in the United States. Its authority, duties and powers include the following:

  • Interrogating aliens regarding their rights to stay in the United States
  • To arrest, even without a warrant, any alien who, in the agent’s presence  is violating or about to violate the immigration laws of the United States
  • To board and search any alien on plane, boats or vehicles that are within the territorial waters of the US
  • To make an arrest on anyone committing an offense involving a violation of any law pertaining to the admission and expulsion of aliens
  • To arrest anyone committing any federal offense that is committed in the presence of the ICE agents.
  • To carry firearms and execute orders or serve warrants and subpoena.
  • Authority to administer an oath and take evidence
  • Detain aliens who violates the law on controlled substances
  • Deport aliens who are wanted for a crime in other countries

In performing its duties, the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts the investigations involving the cross border crimes such as the following:

  • Terrorism
  • Human smuggling
  • Human rights violations
  • Art theft
  • Human trafficking
  • Drugs trafficking
  • Arms trafficking
  • Cross border financial crimes like money laundering
  • Transnational gang
  • Trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals
  • Trafficking of goods and merchandise

US Secret Service (USSS)

The US Secret Service (USSS) was established in July 5, 1865 and was initially tasked to investigate and prevent counterfeiting of the US currency. Its primary objective is to maintain the integrity of the financial structure of the United States. Its criminal investigation is not limited within the US territory, but may involve international investigations as well. The agency is currently within the control and administration of the Homeland Security Services. The department is able to make thousands of arrests involving counterfeiting with at least 98% convictions.

The powers, duties and authorities of the US Secret Service (USSS) are derived from the 18 US Code 3056 granting the agency the following:

  • Protect the President and vice president elect, including their children and spouses
  • Provide protection to head of foreign governments, US representatives on special missions in other countries and other distinguished visitors to the US
  • Make an arrest for violating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other financial institutions like federal banks
  • Arrest individuals who counterfeit US currency and coins
  • Carry firearms
  • Serve a warrant and make an arrest even without a warrant when a federal offense is committed in their agent’s presence
  • Pay a reward for giving an information that can lead to the enforcement of the laws and arrest of individuals who violate the laws that the agency is authorized to enforce
  • Forfeiture of assets

The criminal investigations conducted by the US Secret Service (USSS) are mostly concerned with the enforcement of law against counterfeiting and it may extend to investigate the following crimes:

  • Currency counterfeiting
  • Financial fraud
  • Identity theft related to frauds involving checks, banks, credit cards and skimming devices, passport and visa.
  • Fraudulent identification
  • Cyberspace crimes and other electronic financial crimes
  • Forgery
  • Money laundering

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Among all of the agencies under the Homeland Security, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest. Prior to its establishment, the compliance, security and facilitation involving the international trade and travel were performed and managed by various agencies. All these were consolidated to become under the CBP when it was created in 1789. This resulted in a more efficient enforcement and establishment of a better security procedure that protects the country against immigration violations that promote health, national security, public safety and secured international trade. The employees working for the CBP come from various fields, including public affairs officers, international trade specialists, agriculture inspectors and forensic specialist as among many others.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are allowed to carry firearms which is primarily an H&K P2000 double action pistol with .40 S&W caliber. Its border patrol agents have the authority to perform the following duties:

  • Patrol the borders of the United States
  • Prevent anyone leaving the borders without permission or authority
  • Prevent smuggling and the unlawful entry of illegal aliens
  • Make an arrest on individuals violating the immigration laws
  • To be deputized as a peace officer to bring order within a community

The air and marine interdiction agents of the CBP has the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Use of marine and air assets in detecting and preventing acts of terrorism
  • To enforce border protection between ports of entry within the maritime domains of the US
  • To enforce the laws on aliens and nationality and the laws on customs under the title 8 and title 19 respectively of the US Code.
  • Prevent unlawful movement of people and prohibited drugs and contraband across the US borders.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) primarily investigates crimes related to:

  • Smuggling
  • Trafficking
  • Terrorism

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department is the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which is one of the directorates of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Analysts, special agents and auditors are among the critical member of the HSI workforce. Their employees are scattered across the United States and across the globe. The department constitutes the largest investigative international presence among all the agencies under the Homeland Security. The HSI employs sophisticated technology with agents highly skilled in investigations to ensure the national security of the United States. The department operates within the Human Rights Violators and War Crime Units under the National Security Investigatios Divisions of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have the broad authority in law enforcement. They are authorized by law to use equipments, such as a nationwide radio communication system. Its special agents are armed with the SIG Sauer P229R pistol as their primary sidearm. The Remington Model 870 shotgun and Colt M4 carbine and submachine guns are their secondary weapons. Among its powers, duties and authorities include the following:

  • Enforcement of law against the commission of general federal crimes
  • Enforcement of the US customs laws
  • Enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act
  • Conduct investigations related to the national security threats
  • Collect and analyze intelligence to be used by the Department of Homeland Security
  • Making an arrest and to serve warrants

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is engaged in the investigation of various crimes that include the following:

  • Threats to the national security
  • Threats to public safety
  • Human smuggling
  • Human trafficking
  • Drug smuggling
  • Money laundering
  • Other financial crimes
  • Counter proliferation investigations involving illegal commodities like firearms, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction
  • Customs fraud
  • Trade fraud
  • Fraud on immigration concerns
  • Cyber crime investigations
  • Child exploitation
  • Organized crimes