Facilitation Issue Brief _____________________

Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and

Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Author:  Patricia Ornst, (202) 861-8096

 

Background:

On March 1st the Department of Homeland Security brought together the

various border agencies into the Bureau of Customs and Border

Protection and renamed the Bureau of Border Security (as indicated in

the Homeland Security Act of 2002) the Bureau of Immigration and

Customs Enforcement to refocus homeland security inspection and

investigation functions. The bureaus will be organized in the

Department's Border and Transportation Directorate.

 

Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

This new Bureau will bring together approximately 30,000 employees including 17,000 inspectors in the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program, INS inspection services, Border Patrol and the Customs Service, including canine enforcement officers. It will be headed by the Commissioner of Customs who will report to the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security. The Bureau will focus its operations on the movement of goods and people across our borders.

 

Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This Bureau will bring together the enforcement and investigation arms of the Customs Service, the investigative and enforcement functions of Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Protective Services. The reorganization involves approximately 14,000 employees, including 5,500 criminal investigators, 4,000 employees for immigration and deportation services and 1,500 Federal Protective Service personnel that will focus on the mission of enforcing the full range of immigration and customs laws within the interior of the United States in addition to protecting specified federal buildings. The air and marine enforcement functions of the Customs Service will also be a part of this bureau. This Bureau will be headed by an Assistant Secretary who will report directly to the Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security and will advise the Under Secretary on any policy or operation of the Bureau that may affect the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

 

 

How does it relate to airports?

As of March 1, 2003, airports primary interaction, specific to facilitation initiatives, will be with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, likely to be headed by the current U.S. Customs Commissioner, Robert Bonner.  It is important to note that operations currently funded out of the INS inspections user fee account will now be divided between the two bureaus.  User fee account operations will be split between the two bureaus, and while no final decisions have been made on accounting or distribution of user fee funds, the impact to adequate funding of all user fee operations may be minimal as both bureaus will report to the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. 

 

 

Status

 

Customs and INS Inspectors

Secretary Tom Ridge announced in a speech at the National Association of Counties' legislative conference that the Department of Homeland Security Department plans to hire 570 additional agents and 1,700 new inspectors for the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, to screen travelers and their bags and vehicles at the nation's border crossings, airports and seaports. Also, each of the country's 300 ports of entry now has an "acting port director" to coordinate the work of inspectors -- from the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Agriculture Department's Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service and the Border Patrol -- who are now part of the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

 

On February 13, Congress passed the fiscal year 2003 Omnibus Spending Bill and submitted it for the President’s signature.  The bill contained $2.5 billion for U.S. Customs including $435 million for USCS automation initiatives and $315 million for the automated commercial environment (ACE).  In its Fiscal Year 2004 budget proposal, the Administration requested $5.6 billion for the bureau of customs and border protection to strengthen the role of inspection services protecting the security of U.S. borders.

 

User Fee for Cruise Line Passengers

Finally, the INS will begin collecting $3 from each commercial vessel passenger who undergoes INS inspection.  The rule, effective February 27, 2003, amends the service regulations to require certain commercial vessel operators or their ticketing agents to charge and collect a $3 user fee from every commercial vessel passenger whose journey originated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, a territory or possession of the United States or an adjacent island except those individuals exempted under section 286(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  This rule is not applicable to passengers on Great Lake ferries and other Great Lake vessels. 

 

While air carrier passengers will continue to pay an elevated user fee of $7 per inspection, the collection of $3 per cruise line passenger will bring additional revenue into the user fee fund and may allow the INS and its successor under the Department of Homeland Security to provide increased staff at air ports-of-entry and provide increased funding for critical infrastructure and technology upgrades necessary to assist inspectors.  Finally, cruise line passengers will provide a percentage of funding necessary to provide their inspections.  Obviously, there is still inequity between what airline and cruise line passengers pay into the user fee fund for the same inspections process, however, after many years of airline passengers "footing the bill" for all individuals who undergo inspections, this INS action is a step in the right direction.

 

Related Links:

 

Joint hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security and the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security, Immigration and Citizenship Committee on the Judiciary on Border Security: Challenges in Implementing Border Technology, March 11, 2003 http://airportnet.org/secure/federal/hearings/2003/HR0312bordersecurity.htm

 

Senate Finance Committee Hearing on U.S. Borders: Safe or Sieve, January 30, 2003 http://airportnet.org/secure/federal/hearings/2003/HR0130borders.htm

 

Click here to view the Department of Homeland Security website:  http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/index.jsp

 

In 2002, the AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affairs Department issued the following Airport Alerts regarding funding for the U.S. Customs Service: 

 

     Volume 8, Number 65 - House Appropriations Committee Approves Funding for     U.S. Customs Service

 

     Volume 8, Number 58 - House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Funding for      U.S Customs Services

 

     Volume 8, Number 29 - ACI-NA and AAAE Testimony on Customs             

 

     Volume 8, Number 7 - Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Request                            

 

 

In 2002, the AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affair Department issued the following Hearing Reports regarding the U.S. Customs Service:

 

     Volume 3, Number 20 - Customs and Trade Issues

 

     Volume 3, Number 9 - FY03 Appropriations for U.S. Customs Service

 

On June 21, 2002, Plavin and Barclay urged House and Senate Appropriators to approve funding for additional U.S. Customs inspectors at air ports-of-entry.  A copy of the letter may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/letters/0626letter.pdf.

 

On May 1, 2002, Plavin and Barclay urged the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury-Postal Service to approve funding for additional U.S. Customs inspectors at air ports-of-entry.  A copy of the testimony may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/testimony/0501ins.pdf.

 

On April 24, 2002, Plavin and Barclay urged the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury-Postal Service to approve funding for additional U.S. Customs inspectors at air ports-of-entry.  A copy of the testimony may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/testimony/0422TPApprops.pdf.

 

 

In 2002, the AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affairs Department issued the following Airport Alerts regarding the INS:

 

     Volume 8, Number 39 - AAAE/ACI-NA Staff Discuss 45-Minute Time Limit with     Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA)

 

     Volume 8, Number 31 - ACI-NA and AAAE Submit Testimony on INS

 

     Volume 8, Number 22 - AAAE and ACI-NA Submit Testimony on INS

 

     Volume 8, Number 7 - Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Request

 

     Volume 7, Number 174 - President Signs Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations      Bill

 

Volume 7, Number 151 - New User Fees for Cruise Line Passengers!

 

On April 29, 2002, Plavin and Barclay voiced opposition to lifting the 45-minute time limit and urged the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-State to approve funding for additional INS inspectors at air ports-of-entry.  A copy of the testimony may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/testimony/0429cjs.pdf.

 

On April 23, 2002, Plavin and Barclay urged House and Senate Appropriations Committee members to include funding in the FY02 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to allow the INS to deploy more inspectors at air ports-of-entry. A copy of that letter may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/letters/0423supp.pdf.

 

On April 12, 2002, Plavin and Barclay voiced opposition to lifting the 45-minute time limit and urged the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-State to approve funding for additional INS inspectors at air ports-of-entry.  A copy of the testimony may be viewed at:  http://airportnet.org/depts/federal/testimony/412cjsapprops.pdf.