The US Customs And Border Protection Research Papers Example
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In the wake of the escalating terrorism threat that targeted mainland USA and culminating in the unspeakable horror of the 9/11 incidents, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS hereafter) was created through the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Twenty-two different federal departments and agencies were integrated into the new department to make homeland security more effective and efficient. Today, the following components constitute the DHS: US Citizenship and Immigration Services; United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP); United States Coast Guard (USCG); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Transportation Security Administration (TSA); United States Secret Service (USSS); Management Directorate; National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD); Science and Technology Directorate (S&T); Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO); Office of Health Affairs (OHA); Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A); Office of Operations Coordination and Planning; and Office of Policy (DHS 2014). This essay discusses in particular the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP hereafter) – the DHS component tasked with the protection of the US borders so that terrorists and terrorism, and smugglers, among others, cannot penetrate the country (Glick 2008, p. 10).
The largest governmental reorganization that spawned the DHS consolidated agencies of the government formerly under the supervision of various cabinets and departments. Thus, the US Customs Service, previously under the US Treasury Department, the former US Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service, the import/export inspection duties of the US Department of Agriculture were integrated to form the present CBP (Glick 2008, p. 10). The agency is headquartered at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W., Washington, D.C., but has 20 field operation offices all over the country that supervise and oversee some 317 official ports of entry in the US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as well as pre-clearance offices located in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean (Glick 2008, p. 10).
The CBP organizational chart, shown in Fig. 1, is headed by a Commissioner, who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and his Deputy Commissioner at the top of the hierarchy. The top hierarchy next to the Commissioner includes a Deputy Commissioner, a Chief of Staff, Chief Counsel, five staff members (in blue background) and 13 Assistant Commissioners and 1 Chief (in white background). These 14 Assistant Commissioners/Chief
supervise and oversee the 60,000 employees of the agency in securing the borders of the country, in the areas of law enforcement, regulatory, intelligence, technology and other aspects of customs and border control (USCBP 2010). The CBP sends out on a daily basis 43, 346 law enforcement agents aboard 26,000 tactical vehicles, 260 aircraft, 290 watercraft, 367 horse patrols and 1,580 canine teams to attain its missions and objectives (USDOS 2015).
The CBP has several goals, but its main aim is to prevent terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from entering US borders. It also implements US trade and immigration laws (Peterson’s 2012). Aside from these, the agency has a two-pronged immediate goal. The first is to secure America’s borders and the other is to strengthen the border patrol. In order to secure America’s borders, the CBP has to strengthen intelligence and collaborate more effectively with law enforcement authorities. Similarly, introducing and increasing strategies and techniques to detect illegal entries can assist in managing risk. By targeting the highest priority threats and intensifying strategies against smuggling, the CBP aims to disrupt and destroy transnational crime organizations. CBP also aims to expand situational awareness at port of entries or POEs, as well as increase public participation in securing America’s borders (USCBP 2010).
In order to strengthen the border patrol, the CBP aims to reinforce and expand its institutional capabilities through a number of ways. The primary focus of this goal is its people and its capabilities. By improving education, training and patrol, the CBP hopes to attain a stronger border patrol system. In addition, employee-support initiatives, organizational integrity that eliminates corruption, organizational processes, introduction of more effective tools in the collection of data must all be improved to achieve an overall stronger border patrol. All these in addition to improving planning, resource allocation and acquisition can bring about, according to the CBP, the attainment of this goal (USCBP 2010).
The functions of the CBP include the processing of goods, vehicles and persons entering or passing the 329 POEs in the 20 field offices. It also reviews passports and agricultural products coming in through those POEs. In 2013, the CBP inspected 315.5 million travelers, processed 107 million vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks, trains, vessels and aircrafts, conducted 26.7 million agricultural inspections, and intercepted 1.6 million prohibited items, such as prohibited meats, plants and insect pests. The agency also seized 759,000 pounds of drugs, arrested 24,000 suspected criminals and rejected more than 144,000 aliens who failed to meet border requirements. On a daily basis, the agency seizes an average of $274,065 in illicit currency at the borders (USDS 2015).
One of the important components of the CBP is the Office of the Border Patrol under its current chief Michael J. Fisher (USCBP 2015). The OBP is tasked with the responsibilities of patrolling about 6,000 miles of land borders abutting Mexico and Canada and coastal waters in the Florida peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico. In order to maximize protection of these borders, border patrol agents conduct surveillance, respond to sensor alarms deployed in some parts of the borders, conduct air traffic sightings, and analyze tracks. The OBP’s job is made more doubly difficult by the existence of borders in remote places, such as uninhabited deserts and canyons necessitating the use of advanced technologies, such as electronic sensors, night vision scopes and video monitors (Bullock et al 2012, p. 122).
The CBP performs a very important mission for the country – one that has been notoriously illustrated by the 9/11 incident. To keep terrorists and terrorism from entering the country through its land and coastal borders, the CBP must use all efforts at hand assisted by advanced technologies. Only when the CBP, and other agencies in the DHS, perform their jobs well can America safe soundly at night safe from threats of terrorism and transnational crimes.
Bullock, J., Haddow, G. and Coppola, D. (2012). Homeland Security: The Essentials. Butterworth-Heinemann.
DHS (2014). Department Components. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from http://www.dhs.gov/department-components
Glick, L. (2008). Guide to United States Customs and Trade Laws After the Customs Modernization Act. Kluwer Law International.
Peterson’s (2011). Master the US Border Patrol Exam. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson’s Publishing.
USCBP (2010). 2012 – 2016 - Border Patrol Strategic Plan: The Mission: Protect America. US Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved from http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/bp_strategic_plan.pdf.
USDOS (2015). 2014 INCSR: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). US Department of State. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2014/vol1/223184.htm
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