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FAQ – commonly asked questions about ICE

How does ICE accomplish its mission?

ICE combines innovative investigative techniques, new technological resources and a high level of professionalism to provide a wide range of investigative and security services to the public and our law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local levels.

How is ICE organized?

The five main branches of ICE work together and separately, within ICE and with other law enforcement and intelligence entities to keep the United States secure.

The Office of Investigations investigates a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the movement of people and goods that violate immigration and customs laws and threaten national security.

The Office of Detention and Removal Operations is responsible for public safety and national security by ensuring the departure from the United States of all removable aliens through the fair enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.

The Federal Protective Service is responsible for policing, securing and ensuring a safe environment in which federal agencies can conduct their business at more than 8,800 federal facilities nationwide.

The Office of Intelligence is responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of strategic and tactical intelligence data for use by ICE and DHS.

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) conducts and coordinates international investigations involving transnational criminal organizations responsible for the illegal movement of people, goods and technology into and out of the United States.

Who runs ICE?

Secretary Michael Chertoff heads the Department of Homeland Security, and Julie Myers the assistant secretary of ICE, its largest investigative branch. Within ICE are five main branches: the Office of Investigations, headed by Marcy Forman; the Office of Intelligence, headed by Susan E. Lane; the Office of Detention and Removal Operations, headed by James T. Hayes, Jr.; the Office of Federal Protective Service, headed by Gary W. Schenkel; and the Office of International Affairs, headed by Michael Feinberg.

Who works for ICE?

ICE has more than 15,000 employees working in offices nationally and around the world. These employees represent the best talent from a pool of qualified candidates including recent college graduates, military retirees and law enforcement officials. An ICE employee might work as an Immigration Enforcement Agent, Federal Protective Service Inspector, or Criminal Investigator. To find out more about the people working for ICE, visit the Faces of ICE section. To find out more about working for ICE, visit our Careers section.

Where is ICE located?

ICE is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with additional offices across the United States. ICE also has offices around the globe that work closely with foreign governments to target both human smuggling and trafficking organizations.

What does ICE investigate?

ICE investigates a wide range of national security, financial and smuggling violations including drug smuggling, human trafficking, illegal arms exports, financial crimes, commercial fraud, human smuggling, document fraud, money laundering, child pornography/exploitation and immigration fraud.

What has ICE accomplished since it was created?

ICE’s many successes since it’s creation include progress spearheaded by the agency’s powerful initiatives and programs, including:

  • In FY02, before the establishment of ICE, the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) responded to 426,895 inquiries from law enforcement agencies. Two years later, after significant promotion by ICE, the LESC fielded 669,460 inquiries from agencies in all 50 states. Because ICE also enhanced the LESC’s role in law enforcement, 15,555 detainers against wanted aliens were lodged with law enforcement agencies around the country in FY04.
  • ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) has taken great strides in achieving greater public safety with its National Fugitive Operations Teams, which locate and apprehend fugitive aliens. During their second full year, the 17 teams were highly successful with 11,082 fugitive apprehensions. When non-fugitive violators of immigration laws that are apprehended “collaterally,” including the number of arrests by Fugitive Operations Teams in FY05 climbs to 15,049.
  • ICE’s Expedited Removal (ER) process results in a final order of removal, which prohibits alien re-entry into the United States for a period of at least five years, absent special permission. In FY05, the Border Patrol detained 18,050 aliens as part of ER. DRO removed 14,536 of these aliens.
  • The Human Rights Violators Section was created to place a greater emphasis on investigating human rights cases and protecting public safety. A counterpart, the Human Rights Law Division (HRLD), was recently created to provide legal and litigation support to the effort to remove human rights violators. These units have identified over 350 active cases from over 50 countries involving suspected human rights violators. In FY05, ICE arrested 39 human rights violators. Consistent with the focus on pursuing criminal charges whenever possible, 19 of those arrested have been charged with criminal violations such as visa fraud.
  • The Child Exploitation Investigative Program targets child pornography possession, manufacturing and distribution and child sex tourism. This section also supports international case initiatives such as Operation Falcon, which focused on the commercial distribution of Internet child pornography and resulted in more than 1,200 arrests worldwide and the seizure of more than $1,000,000.
  • This past fiscal year, the Forensic Document Laboratory (FDL) completed 5,672 cases submitted for forensic examination. That represents an increase of more than 1,000 cases compared with FY02. The FDL responded to 7,782 field operational requests for assistance in handling suspect travel and identity documents held by foreign travelers in FY04 compared to 5,610 in FY02.
  • Since ICE’s creation, it has initiated 5,670 investigations into illegal exports. These investigations have netted 431 arrests, 305 indictments and 282 convictions.

For more information, take a look at our fact sheets on ICE Accomplishments and/or our news releases for news on our current cases.

How can I help ICE protect my home, business and community?

Notify ICE of inappropriate or suspicious behavior, including communications received by phone, fax, e-mail, third party, verbal communication or in writing. Always report crimes. To report suspicious activity, call our toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.

How do I work for ICE?

ICE conducts a careful and thorough screening process to determine the best candidates for each position within the organization. To find out more about this process and about the different types of occupations within ICE, visit the Careers section. For more specific information on all current job vacancies visit

What information does ICE release to the public?

You can learn more about how ICE ensures our nation's security by reading some of our fact sheets and recent news releases, and by signing up for our biweekly newsletter, Inside ICE.

How can I contact ICE?

To report suspicious activity, call our toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or view our Contact Us page for more information.

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