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|U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement|
Logo of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
HSI Special Agent badge
Flag of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
|Motto||"Protecting National Security and Upholding Public Safety"|
|Formed||March 1, 2003|
|Annual budget||$7.6 billion (2018)|
|Federal agency||United States|
|Operations jurisdiction||United States|
|General nature||• Federal law enforcement|
|Parent agency||U.S. Department of Homeland Security|
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a law enforcement agency of the Federal government of the United States under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE has two primary components: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICE is charged with the investigation and enforcement of over 400 federal statutes within the United States and maintains attachés at major U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.
ICE does not patrol American borders; rather, that role is performed by the United States Border Patrol, a unit of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is a sister agency of ICE. The former Acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan, was replaced by Deputy Director Ronald Vitiello on June 30, 2018.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was formed pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, following the events of September 11, 2001. With the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the functions and jurisdictions of several border and revenue enforcement agencies were combined and consolidated into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Consequently, ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and the second largest contributor to the nation's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The agencies that were either moved entirely or merged in part into ICE included the investigative and intelligence resources of the United States Customs Service, the criminal investigative, detention and deportation resources of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Federal Protective Service. The Federal Protective Service was later transferred from ICE to the National Protection and Programs Directorate effective October 28, 2009. In 2003, Asa Hutchinson moved the Federal Air Marshals Service from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ICE, but Chertoff moved them back to the TSA in 2005.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for identifying and eliminating border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security vulnerabilities. There is an estimate of about more than 20,000 ICE employees in approximately over 400 offices within the United States including 46 other countries.
The organization is composed of two law enforcement directorates and several support divisions each headed by a director who reports to an Executive Associate Director. The divisions of ICE provide investigation, interdiction and security services to the public and other law enforcement partners in the federal and local sectors.
HSI special agents investigate a range of issues that threaten the national security of the United States such as human rights violations, human smuggling, art theft, human trafficking, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, document and benefit fraud, the manufacturing and sale of counterfeit immigration and identity documents, transnational gangs, financial crimes including money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, trade-based money laundering (including trade finance and Kimberley Process investigations), computer crimes, including the production and transportation of child pornography via the Internet, import/export enforcement, trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other merchandise, and international Cultural Property and Antiquities crimes. HSI agents can be requested to provide security for VIPs, and also augment the U.S. Secret Service during overtaxed times such as special security events and elections.
HSI was formerly known as the ICE Office of Investigations (OI). HSI agents have the statutory authority to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act (Title 8), U.S. customs laws (Title 19), general federal crimes (Title 18), the Controlled Substances Act (Title 21), as well as Titles 5, 6, 12, 22, 26, 28, 31, 46, 49, and 50 of the U.S. Code. HSI has more than 6,500 special agents, making it the largest investigative entity in the Department of Homeland Security and the second largest in the federal government.
The Office of Intelligence is a subcomponent of HSI that employs a variety of special agents and Intelligence Research Specialists to facilitate HSI's tactical and strategic intelligence demands. Collectively, these intelligence professionals collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence for use by the operational elements of DHS. The Office of Intelligence works closely with the intelligence components of other federal, state, and local agencies. Many HSI field offices assign intelligence analysts to specific groups, such as financial crimes, counter-proliferation, narcotics, or document fraud; or, alternatively, they can be assigned to a residential intelligence unit, known as a Field Intelligence Group (FIG). HSI agents assigned to FIGs generally focus on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection.
International Operations, formerly known as the Office of International Affairs (OIA), is a subcomponent of HSI with agents stationed in 60 locations around the world. HSI's foreign offices, known as Attaché Offices, work with foreign governments to identify and combat transnational criminal organizations before they threaten the United States. IO also facilitates domestic HSI investigations by providing intelligence from host countries, conducting collateral investigations, and facilitating international investigations conducted by field offices within the United States.
Seventeen HSI field offices maintain a Special Response Team (SRT) that operates as a federal SWAT element for the office's area of responsibility (AOR). SRT was founded under the U.S. Customs Service as the Warrant Entry and Tactical Team (WETT) and were renamed to SRT in 1998. The SRT handle HSI's high-risk arrest and search warrants, barricaded subjects, rural area operations, VIP protection, sniper coverage for high-risk operations, and security for National Security Events. HSI's active SRTs are located in Tampa, Miami, Arizona (Phoenix), New Orleans, Houston, New York, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Juan, Detroit, San Francisco, El Paso, Chicago, San Diego and Washington, D.C. There is also a team of instructors and coordinators stationed full-time in Columbus, Georgia. These teams primarily deploy to handle high-risk operations, but also assist in events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake 2010, and other natural disasters around the globe.
SRT is a collateral duty open to HSI agents assigned to an office with a certified team. To qualify, candidates must pass a physical fitness test, qualify with multiple firearms by shooting 90% or better in full tactical gear, and pass an oral interview process. If a candidate passes these stages and is voted on the local team, they are then designated "Green Team" members and allowed to train with the certified team members. Green Team members are eventually sent to the SRT Initial Certification Course at the Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs, Tactical Operations Unit (OFTP/TOU)Fort Benning, Georgia, where they must pass additional physical fitness, firearms, scenario-based and written assessments. Out of approximately 6,500 special agents, there are currently only approximately 250 certified SRT members nationwide.
HSI SRTs often conduct training exercises with various federal, state and local teams, and also assist other teams during national events or large-scale operations that require multiple high-risk scenarios to be conducted simultaneously. The working relationship between the SRTs and the U.S. Department of Defense's U.S. Special Operations Command has led to SOCOM providing the SRTs with excess Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), firearms, and other gear designed for the U.S. Tier One groups.
ERO is responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration laws and ensuring the departure of removable immigrants from the United States. ERO uses its deportation officers to identify, arrest, and remove immigrants who violate U.S. immigration law. Deportation officers are responsible for the transportation and detention of immigrants in ICE custody to include the removal of immigrants to their country of origin. Deportation officers prosecute immigrants for violations of U.S. immigration and criminal law, monitor cases during deportation proceedings, supervise released immigrants, and remove immigrants from the United States. Deportation officers operate strategically placed Fugitive Operations Teams whose function is to locate, apprehend, and remove immigrants who have absconded from immigration proceedings and remain in the United States with outstanding warrants for deportation. ERO manages the Secure Communities program which identifies removable immigrants located in jails and prisons. Fingerprints submitted as part of the normal criminal arrest and booking process will automatically check both the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) of the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT Program.
ERO was formerly known as the Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO).
OSLTC is ICE's primary outreach and communications component for state, local and tribal stakeholders. It is responsible for building and improving relationships, and coordinating activities with state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies and through public engagement. It also fosters and sustains relationships with federal, state and local government officials and coordinates ICE ACCESS programs (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security).
OPLA provides legal advice, training and services to support the ICE mission and defends the interests of the United States in the administrative and federal courts, including representing the government of foreign nationals for the purpose of removal (previously known as "deportation") process.
OPR is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving employees of ICE. OPR preserves the organizational integrity of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by impartially, independently and thoroughly investigating allegations of criminal or serious administrative misconduct by ICE employees worldwide. Additionally, OPR inspects and reviews ICE offices, operations and processes so as to provide executive management with independent reviews of the agency's organizational health. In this role, OPR assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of ICE in carrying out its mission.
The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) was aligned into ICE shortly after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. On October 16, 2005, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff officially approved the transfer of the Federal Air Marshal Service from the Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the TSA as part of a broader departmental reorganization to align functions consistent with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "Second Stage Review" findings for:
As part of this realignment, the Director of the Federal Air Marshal Service also became the Assistant Administrator for the TSA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), which houses nearly all TSA law enforcement services.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) was moved from the General Services Administration (GSA) to ICE upon the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The FPS was later moved out of ICE to the National Protection Programs Directorate.
Originally a part of the U.S. Customs Service's Office of Investigations, the Office of Air and Marine (then called the Air and Marine Interdiction Division) was transferred to ICE in 2003 during the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, becoming the Office of Air and Marine Operations. Due in part to a 500 million dollar budgetary dispute between CBP and ICE, in 2004 ICE Air and Marine Operations was transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP Air and Marine still works closely with ICE to support the agency's domestic and international law enforcement operations.
The Office of Detention Policy and Planning was responsible developing and maintaining ICE's National Detention Standards, which set out detailed rules for how immigration detainees were to be treated differently than criminal inmates. In April 2017, President Donald Trump decided to close the office and to stop including the standards in new jail contracts.
|No.||Picture||Name||Took office||Left office||President|
|1||Michael J. Garcia||March 2003||September 2005||George W. Bush|
|–||John P. Clark
|September 2005||January 2006|
|2||Julie Myers||January 4, 2006||November 14, 2008|
|–||John P. Torres
|November 17, 2008||May 12, 2009|
|3||John T. Morton||May 12, 2009||July 31, 2013||Barack Obama|
|August 1, 2013||February 21, 2014|
Acting as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
|March 16, 2014||December 23, 2014|
|4||Sarah Saldaña||December 23, 2014||January 20, 2017|
|January 20, 2017||January 30, 2017||Donald Trump|
|January 30, 2017||June 29, 2018|
|June 30, 2018|
Newly hired ICE law enforcement personnel receive their training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. To meet division specific academic and practical instruction, the ICE Academy varies in length from 4 to 6 months depending on the position. Furthermore, following graduation, all ICE law enforcement personnel undergo additional post academy training, as well as career-continuous training. Specific course curriculum is kept confidential, but both ERO and HSI new hires undergo training related to basic law enforcement tactics, immigration law, firearms training, emergency response driving, and Constitutional law. HSI agents also receive training regarding U.S. customs law, warrant service, advanced tactics, undercover operations, criminal interrogation, weapons of mass destruction, and other subjects routinely encountered by HSI agents in the field. ERO deportation officers undergo several weeks of intensive Spanish language training prior to graduating.
In February 2005, ICE began Operation Community Shield, a national law enforcement initiative that targets violent transnational street gangs through the use of ICE's broad law enforcement powers, including the unique and powerful authority to remove criminal immigrants, including illegal immigrants and legal permanent residents.
Immigration and Nationality Act Section 287(g) allows ICE to establish increased cooperation and communication with state, and local law enforcement agencies. Section 287(g) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Under 287(g), ICE provides state and local law enforcement with the training and subsequent authorization to identify, process, and when appropriate, detain immigration offenders they encounter during their regular, daily law-enforcement activity.
The 287(g) program is extremely controversial; it has been widely criticized for increasing racial profiling by police and undermining community safety because unlawful immigrant communities are no longer willing to report crimes or talk to law enforcement.
The 287(g) program is one of several ICE ACCESS (ICE "Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security") programs that increase collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement agents.
ICE has played a key role in investigating and arresting citizens suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. Because the vast majority of child pornography is produced outside the United States, HSI special agents utilize their authority to investigate persons and groups that traffic in this type of contraband, the importation of which via traditional mail or internet channels constitute violations of customs laws.
ICE operates detention centers throughout the United States that detain illegal aliens who are apprehended and placed into removal proceedings. About 34,000 people are held in immigration detention on any given day, in over 200 detention centers, jails, and prisons nationwide. Due to the United States detention bed quota, mandated by congress, that number will increase rather than decrease. The quota mandates at least 34,000 beds available for immigrants on any given day. 
In 2006, the T. Don Hutto Residential Center opened specifically to house non-criminal families. Other significant facilities are located in Lumpkin, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Oakdale, Louisiana; Florence, Arizona; Miami, Florida; Seattle; York, Pennsylvania; Batavia, New York; Aurora, Colorado; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and all along the Texas–Mexico border.
|Alabama||Etowah County Detention Center|
|Arizona||Central Arizona Detention Center|
|California||Adelanto Detention Center|
|Florida||Baker County Detention Facility|
Broward Transitional Center
|Georgia||Atlanta City Detention Center|
Irwin County Detention Center
|Illinois||Jefferson County Justice Center|
McHenry County Jail
|Iowa||Hardin County Jail|
|Kentucky||Boone County Jail|
|Louisiana||LaSalle Detention Center|
Oakdale Detention Center
|Maryland||Worcester County Jail|
|Massachusetts||Bristol County Jail|
Plymouth County Correctional Facility
|Michigan||Calhoun County Jail|
Monroe County Jail
|Minnesota||Freeborn County Jail|
Ramsey County Jail
|New Mexico||Albuquerque Immigration Office|
|Texas||Dallas Immigration Detention Center|
T. Don Hutto Residential Center
|Washington||Tacoma Northwest Detention Center|
ICE has counted 107 deaths in detention from October 2003 to 2007. The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union recently obtained documents detailing the circumstances of these deaths, under the Freedom of Information Act. "The documents show how officials—some still in key positions—used their role as overseers to cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse," The New York Times reported. The deaths in detention included the following cases:
Engineering and construction firm Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) released a press statement on January 24, 2006, that the company had been awarded a no-bid contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to support its ICE facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a one-year base period with four one-year options. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. The contract provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, the company said.
ICE Air is the aviation division of ICE that charters aircraft or books commercial flights to send deportees back to their home countries. There are 10 aircraft used to send deportees and has a working list of 185 countries.
Deportees have legs and arms secured while boarding, handcuffs removed during flight and all shackles removed upon disembarking.
The Intercept published a report by the DHS Office of Inspector General revealing that 1,224 sexual abuse complaints while in immigration custody were filed between January 2010 and June 2017. Contrary to ICE's claims, only 3% of these complaints were investigated.
Between 2009 and 2016, President Obama deported a record 2.4 million immigrants, earning him the nickname "Deporter-In-Chief" by Janet Murguía, the president of National Council of La Raza. According to ICE data, about 40% of those deported by ICE in 2015 had no criminal conviction, while majority of those convicted were guilty of minor charges.
As part of the 2018 Trump administration's zero tolerance policy, nearly 3,000 minors were separated from their parents while trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border and placed in detention centers. Rolling Stone likened these centers to "prisons" while The Houston Chronicle reported that a movement swelled online to call them "concentration camps." Similarly, former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush compared the images of the centers to U.S. Japanese internment camps during the Second World War. 16 out of 34 of the centers located in Texas had previously been cited by Texas officials for more than 150 health violations.[relevant? ] The former head of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, was critical of child separation, telling NBC News, “You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent’s deportation and a child’s deportation is years,” and that many children might never see their parents again.
He’s being named the deputy director of ICE and will also will serve as its acting director, Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement on Saturday.
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