US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security, is charged with keeping the nation's borders safe. The agency protects the US borders from terrorists and their weapons, human and drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and materials that are harmful to the country's agriculture. CPB guards some 7,000 miles of land borders shared with Mexico and Canada and, in partnership with the US Coast Guard, guards some 95,000 miles of maritime border. (Its Air and Marine division manages the largest law enforcement air force in the world.) CBP is also responsible for assessing and collecting duties, taxes, and fees on imported goods.
CBP provides security and facilitation operations at 328 US ports of entry overseen by 20 field offices. It also has 21 Air and Marine branches, 6 National Security Operations, and 1 Air and Marine Operations Center.
On a daily basis, the bureau welcomes about 1 million visitors, screens more than 70,000 truck, rail, and sea containers, ans more than 307,000 incoming privately owned vehicles. Every day it also arrests more than 1,100 individuals and seizes nearly 6 tons of illicit drugs.
Other responsibilities of the CBP include the prevention of harmful insects and foreign animals that may be diseased from entering US borders. Additionally, it addresses biological and agricultural terrorism threats through surveillance and inspection.
Given the CBP's daunting task of keeping US borders protected, the bureau relies on high-tech inspection equipment, such as large-scale X-ray and gamma-imaging systems. It deploys unmanned aerial aircraft with on-board sensors for monitoring remote land border areas, and it uses remotely monitored camera and sensing systems to capture illegal crossings. CBP has 43 Air units and 71 Marine units.
In 2013 the agency spent $12.6 billion on programs. Some 41% of this was spent on securing America’s borders; about 31% om securing and expediting travel; and 24% on securing and expediting trade.
CBP reported revenues of $40.89 billion in fiscal 2013. Custom Duties contributed 78%; Excise Taxes (the second highest category), 8%.
The bureau has partnered with bordering countries in joint initiatives, which include the 30-Point Action Plan with Canada and The Smart Border Accord with Mexico. To surveil commercial trade more effectively, the CBP launched the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, which is a joint initiative between government and business entities to ensure compliant and legal trade activities.
In 2014 CBP was awarded a major contract to acquire and deliver Integrated Fixed Tower systems, a network of surveillance towers, to priority areas of the southwest border with Mexico.
The budget for fiscal 2015, is $13.1 billion, which up $651 million, due to a 207% increase in expenses for border security and control between the ports of entry.
The agency was established in 2003 as part of the US Government security reorganization following the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks.