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Fact Sheets

July 7, 2004

Fact Sheet

ICE Office of Investigations

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of DHS, charged with preventing terrorist and criminal activity by targeting the people, money, and materials that support terrorist and criminal organizations. The ICE Office of Investigations (OI) is a critical asset in this mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within, and out of the United States.

ICE investigations cover a broad range of areas, including national security threats, financial and smuggling violations (including illegal arms exports), financial crimes, commercial fraud, human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, child pornography/exploitation, and immigration fraud. ICE has 27 principal field offices throughout the United States and more than 50 international offices around the world.


The National Security Investigations Division consists of three principal components charged with securing the homeland: The Counter Proliferation Investigations (CPI), the National Security and Threat Protection Unit (NSTP), and the Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU).

  • The CPI is responsible for directing a broad range of investigative activities relative to the enforcement of national security export control statutes. These cases characteristically involve the illegal procurement and movement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) materials and components, dual use-commodities and technologies, the smuggling of nuclear, chemical, and biological materials into and out of the United States, and violations of economic sanctions and embargoes.

  • The NSTP comprises two different sections, the Counter-Terrorism Section (CT) and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Section (CIP). The CT Section has programmatic oversight of ICE investigative efforts and participation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The CIP Section focuses on U.S. infrastructure vulnerabilities such as airports and other vital transportation apparatus and hubs.

  • The final component of the National Security Investigations Division, the CEU, focuses on the restoration of integrity to the nation's immigration system. To accomplish this, the CEU oversees the generation and assignment of leads from the Special Alien Registration program, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. The CEU also manages the Threat Analysis Section (TAS), which combines unique DHS data systems, cutting edge technology and ICE's broad immigration and customs authorities to develop actionable leads to detect, deter, and disrupt terrorist activities.

The Smuggling and Public Safety Division oversees investigative programs designed to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that smuggle contraband and people into the United States, threaten the health and safety of the American people, threaten critical U.S. infrastructure, exploit the immigration benefits system and its documents, or defraud U.S. consumers, business or governments. One of the division’s top initiatives is Operation ICE Storm, a multi-agency initiative led by ICE to target violent smuggling organizations in the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan area.

The Financial Investigations Division oversees investigative programs to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial and trade systems. The Financial Investigations division is responsible for Cornerstone, ICE’s comprehensive economic security initiative that targets the illicit methods that criminal and terrorist organizations use to earn, move, and store their funding. In this effort, ICE partners with the private sector to identify vulnerabilities in the financial and trade sectors. Cornerstone addresses a full range of potential vulnerabilities, including money laundering, intellectual property crime, commercial fraud, cyber crime, and smuggling.

The Investigative Services Division oversees assistance and support to investigative programs, ICE special agents and other law enforcement agencies. This division includes cyber investigation and computer forensic capabilities; telecommunications analysis; asset forfeiture programs; and a variety of programs for supporting investigative activities.

In addition, ICE Investigative Services Division coordinates three major information-sharing initiatives for the law enforcement community:

  • ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) provides local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with timely information on immigration status and identity. The LESC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to coordinate information gathered from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index, and numerous other databases and criminal history indexes. The LESC serves as a national enforcement operations center, providing timely information on immigration status on foreign-born individuals who are under investigation or in custody. The LESC also offers a range of informational and analytical services to support multi-agency investigations.

  • ICE’s Forensic Documents Laboratory (FDL) is the only federal crime laboratory dedicated almost entirely to the forensic examination of documents. The lab offers a full range of services to ICE and other law enforcement agencies, including handwriting analysis, foreign and domestic document examinations, fingerprint analysis, and training in the detection of fraudulent documents. The FDL is staffed 365 days a year to provide timely responses to law enforcement inquiries.

  • ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center (C3) is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the investigation of criminal activities conducted on or facilitated by the Internet. Created in 1997, the C3 brings a full range of ICE computer and forensic assets together in a single location to combat such Internet-related crimes as possession, manufacture and distribution of child pornography; money laundering and illegal cyber-banking; arms trafficking and illegal export of strategic/controlled commodities; drug trafficking (including prohibited pharmaceuticals); trafficking in stolen art and antiquities; and intellectual property rights violations (including music and software).

For more information on ICE and the Office of Investigations, visit us online at

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.

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