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About Us

Created in March 2003, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former U.S. Customs Service, to more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE does this by targeting illegal immigrants: the people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities. ICE is a key component of the DHS “layered defense” approach to protecting the nation.

ICE 2007 Annual Report
Fiscal Year
2007 Annual Report

What we stand for

Our mission is to protect America and uphold public safety. We fulfill this mission by identifying criminal activities and eliminating vulnerabilities that pose a threat to our nation’s borders, as well as enforcing economic, transportation and infrastructure security. By protecting our national and border security, ICE seeks to eliminate the potential threat of terrorist acts against the United States.

How we work

Before 9/11, immigration and customs authorities were not widely recognized as an effective counterterrorism tool in the United States. ICE changed this by creating a host of new systems to better address national security threats and to detect potential terrorist activities in the U.S. We target the people, money and materials that support terrorist and criminal activity.

  • We are the second largest federal law enforcement contributor to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

  • We dismantle gang organizations by targeting their members, seizing their financial assets and disrupting their criminal operations through our Operation Community Shield.

  • We investigate employers and target illegal workers who have gained access to critical infrastructure worksites (like nuclear and chemical plants, military installations, seaports and airports) through our Worksite Enforcement Initiative.

  • We help to identify fraudulent immigration benefit applications and fraudulent illegal document manufacture and target violators through our Identity and Benefit Fraud Program.

  • We investigate the illegal export of U.S. munitions and sensitive technology through our Project Shield America Initiative.

  • We help combat criminal organizations that smuggle and traffic in humans across our borders through our Human Smuggling and Trafficking Initiative.

  • We ensure that every alien who has been ordered removed departs the U.S. as quickly as possible. We work to reduce the number of fugitive aliens in the U.S. through our National Fugitive Operations Program.

  • We aggressively seek to destroy the financial infrastructure that criminal organizations use to earn, move and store illicit funds through our Cornerstone Initiative.

  • We provide law enforcement and security services to more than 8,800 federal buildings that receive nearly one million visitors and tenants daily through our Federal Protective Service.

  • We play a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling and distributing counterfeit products through our National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.

  • We support the law enforcement community through three units dedicated to sharing information and providing investigative support: the Law Enforcement Support Center, Forensic Document Laboratory, and the Cyber Crimes Center.

We fulfill all of these roles and many others, acting with courage, integrity and a high level of accountability while striving for excellence in everything we do. We aspire to the highest standards of performance, professionalism and leadership.

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