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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the ICE Compliance Enforcement Unit?

In June 2003, ICE’s Office of Investigations established the Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU), the first national program dedicated to the enforcement of nonimmigrant visa violations.  The CEU focuses on preventing criminals and terrorists from exploiting the nation’s immigration system by proactively developing cases for investigation from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS), and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) System.  These systems allow the CEU to monitor the millions of students, tourists, and temporary workers present in the U.S. at any one time and proactively identify those that violate their status or overstay their visa.  Prior to 9/11, there was not an effective system in place to accurately monitor the status of foreign students and other visitors in the United States, with disastrous consequences.

Did the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS) go away when US-VISIT came on line?

No, the NSEERS program is still active.  Currently, certain nonimmigrant alien visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are subject to NSEERS registration at the port of entry upon arrival to the United States.  Also, nonimmigrant aliens from any country may be registered if they are determined to meet criteria established by the secretary of Homeland Security, if they are referred by a Department of State consular officer, or if the inspecting officer believes the alien should be registered in the interest of law enforcement or national security.  However, on December 2, 2003, an interim rule published in the Federal Register became effective that substantially modified 8 CFR 264.1(f), the section that authorizes Special Registration (NSEERS).  The rule suspended the automatic 30-day and annual re-registration requirements and provided DHS with greater flexibility for notifying aliens of future registration requirements.  DHS retains the authority to call in an NSEERS registered alien for a compliance interview.  Most NSEERS registered aliens are required to register their departure at a designated port.  Failure to comply with any NSEERS requirement causes the alien to violate his or her nonimmigrant status. 

What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a database that tracks the academic status of F, M, and J nonimmigrant students.  The authority for SEVIS is set forth in 8 U.S.C. § 1372.  The legislation for SEVIS was enacted in response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in which an out-of-status foreign student was a key conspirator in the attack.  Further enhancements were added to SEVIS by the US PATRIOT Act of 2001, and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.  The Homeland Security Act requires that ICE use SEVIS information for enforcement purposes.  These congressional acts were passed in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and strengthened and required the full implementation of SEVIS.  The information contained in SEVIS is input by various academic institutions and exchange visitor programs.  These schools are certified by ICE to use SEVIS and are also authorized to petition for foreign students and exchange visitors to enter the United States as nonimmigrant students.  The information in SEVIS is used by ICE to carry out administrative enforcement of individual status violators, conduct criminal investigations of smuggling and fraud related to SEVIS, and for national security operations.  Other stakeholders that use SEVIS include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Department of State Embassy and Consular offices.  SEVIS is an integral component of the DHS national security strategy.

What are Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?

Intellectual property is a creation of an individual's intellect.  The law grants an individual ownership rights over this intangible property, just as the law grants ownership over material things.  IPR are protected under four broad categories of criminal and civil law: 

  • Copyright - for written works
  • Trademark - for factors that identify and distinguish products, services, and providers
  • Trade Secrets - for information that has economic value and that is not disclosed to maintain this value
  • Patent - for inventions

Theft of intellectual property allows the violator to profit from the work of another.  There are federal criminal laws that protect Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secrets, while infringement of a Patent is covered by federal civil law.

What is ICE’s role in countering Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations?

ICE investigates criminal violations of IPR laws.  ICE hosts the National IPR Coordination Center, or IPR Coordination Center, which was established in 2000 as a unified U.S. government response targeting IPR crimes.  The IPR Coordination Center is composed of investigative and analytical personnel from ICE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The IPR Coordination Center accepts allegations from public and private sectors concerning IPR violations via the ICE Web site: with an IPR complaint form; via e-mail at; and via a toll-free telephone hotline: 1-866-IPR-2060.

Does ICE have an infrastructure to deal with victim issues on human trafficking and human smuggling?

ICE, including both the Office of Investigations and the Office of Detention and Removal Operations, has significant resources allocated to both the detention of smuggled aliens and the victim/witness support structure that is available to victims of trafficking.  ICE has 305 collateral duty victim/witness coordinators who work with non-governmental organizations to assist in providing victim services.  ICE provides short-term immigration relief to certified victims of trafficking in the form of Continued Presence (CP).  In fiscal year 2005, ICE agents sponsored 78 percent of all CP requests and extensions.

What is “Humanitarian Parole"?

Humanitarian parole is a final option when an alien is otherwise ineligible for a visa or cannot benefit from a waiver of inadmissibility and has a compelling and urgent reason to travel to the United States.  Parole does not confer any immigration benefits.  It is authorized for a specific period of time, and parolees must depart the United States or adjust to an immigrant status on a previously approved petition, or seek an extension of their stay through a domestic DHS office before the expiration of their parole.

How is a Humanitarian Parole request adjudicated?

In order to adjudicate a humanitarian parole request, a current filing fee of $170.00, Application for Travel Document (Form I-131), Affidavit of Support (Form I-134), and documentary evidence supporting all claims must be submitted for each prospective parolee. All interested parties, including the requester and congressional offices, receive a written notification of the approval or denial. The fee, forms, and documents are submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

What is Interpol and how does ICE interact with it?

Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, with 184 member countries.   Created in 1923, it facilitates cross-border police cooperation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.  Interpol aims to facilitate international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries.

ICE representatives serve as investigative points of contact between Interpol Washington and the 184 member countries of Interpol and the 50 state Liaison Bureaus.  ICE representatives provide investigative assistance in all areas of law enforcement with an emphasis on ICE-related violations.  ICE representatives provide a service to ICE field representatives and others requiring assistance in the international area.

Is there ICE representation at Interpol?

Yes.  There are ICE representatives detailed at the U.S. National Central Bureau (NCB).  Each Interpol member country maintains a NCB staffed by national law enforcement officers.  The NCB is the designated point of contact for the General Secretariat, regional offices, and other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives.

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