U.S Code last checked for updates: Jul 20, 2021
§ 211.
Establishment of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and operational offices
(a)
In general

There is established in the Department an agency to be known as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(b)
Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(1)
In general

There shall be at the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection a Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (in this section referred to as the “Commissioner”).

(2)
Committee referral

As an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, any nomination for the Commissioner submitted to the Senate for confirmation, and referred to a committee, shall be referred to the Committee on Finance.

(c)
Duties
The Commissioner shall—
(1)
coordinate and integrate the security, trade facilitation, and trade enforcement functions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(2)
ensure the interdiction of persons and goods illegally entering or exiting the United States;
(3)
facilitate and expedite the flow of legitimate travelers and trade;
(4)
direct and administer the commercial operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the enforcement of the customs and trade laws of the United States;
(5)
detect, respond to, and interdict terrorists, drug smugglers and traffickers, human smugglers and traffickers, and other persons who may undermine the security of the United States, in cases in which such persons are entering, or have recently entered, the United States;
(6)
safeguard the borders of the United States to protect against the entry of dangerous goods;
(7)
ensure the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the homeland;
(8)
in coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, enforce and administer all immigration laws, as such term is defined in paragraph (17) of section 1101(a) of title 8, including—
(A)
the inspection, processing, and admission of persons who seek to enter or depart the United States; and
(B)
the detection, interdiction, removal, departure from the United States, short-term detention, and transfer of persons unlawfully entering, or who have recently unlawfully entered, the United States;
(9)
develop and implement screening and targeting capabilities, including the screening, reviewing, identifying, and prioritizing of passengers and cargo across all international modes of transportation, both inbound and outbound;
(10)
in coordination with the Secretary, deploy technology to collect the data necessary for the Secretary to administer the biometric entry and exit data system pursuant to section 1365b of title 8;
(11)
enforce and administer the laws relating to agricultural import and entry inspection referred to in section 231 of this title;
(12)
in coordination with the Under Secretary for Management of the Department, ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection complies with Federal law, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and the Department’s acquisition management directives for major acquisition programs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(13)
ensure that the policies and regulations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are consistent with the obligations of the United States pursuant to international agreements;
(14)
enforce and administer—
(A)
the Container Security Initiative program under section 205 of the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 (6 U.S.C. 945); and
(B)
the Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program under subtitle B of title II of such Act (6 U.S.C. 961 et seq.);
(15)
conduct polygraph examinations in accordance with section 221(1) of this title;
(16)
establish the standard operating procedures described in subsection (k);
(17)
carry out the training required under subsection (l);
(18)
carry out section 218 of this title, relating to the issuance of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards; and
(19)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by law or delegated by the Secretary.
(d)
Deputy Commissioner

There shall be in U.S. Customs and Border Protection a Deputy Commissioner who shall assist the Commissioner in the management of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(e)
U.S. Border Patrol
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection the U.S. Border Patrol.

(2)
Chief
There shall be at the head of the U.S. Border Patrol a Chief, who shall—
(A)
be at the level of Executive Assistant Commissioner within U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and
(B)
report to the Commissioner.
(3)
Duties
The U.S. Border Patrol shall—
(A)
serve as the law enforcement office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection with primary responsibility for interdicting persons attempting to illegally enter or exit the United States or goods being illegally imported into or exported from the United States at a place other than a designated port of entry;
(B)
deter and prevent the illegal entry of terrorists, terrorist weapons, persons, and contraband; and
(C)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(f)
Air and Marine Operations
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection an office known as Air and Marine Operations.

(2)
Executive Assistant Commissioner

There shall be at the head of Air and Marine Operations an Executive Assistant Commissioner, who shall report to the Commissioner.

(3)
Duties
Air and Marine Operations shall—
(A)
serve as the law enforcement office within U.S. Customs and Border Protection with primary responsibility to detect, interdict, and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illicit drugs, and other contraband across the borders of the United States in the air and maritime environment;
(B)
conduct joint aviation and marine operations with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
(C)
conduct aviation and marine operations with international, Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies, as appropriate;
(D)
administer the Air and Marine Operations Center established under paragraph (4); and
(E)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(4)
Air and Marine Operations Center
(A)
In general

There is established in Air and Marine Operations an Air and Marine Operations Center.

(B)
Executive Director

There shall be at the head of the Air and Marine Operations Center an Executive Director, who shall report to the Executive Assistant Commissioner of Air and Marine Operations.

(C)
Duties
The Air and Marine Operations Center shall—
(i)
manage the air and maritime domain awareness of the Department, as directed by the Secretary;
(ii)
monitor and coordinate the airspace for unmanned aerial systems operations of Air and Marine Operations in U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(iii)
detect, identify, and coordinate a response to threats to national security in the air domain, in coordination with other appropriate agencies, as determined by the Executive Assistant Commissioner;
(iv)
provide aviation and marine support to other Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies; and
(v)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Executive Assistant Commissioner.
(g)
Office of Field Operations
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection an Office of Field Operations.

(2)
Executive Assistant Commissioner

There shall be at the head of the Office of Field Operations an Executive Assistant Commissioner, who shall report to the Commissioner.

(3)
Duties
The Office of Field Operations shall coordinate the enforcement activities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at United States air, land, and sea ports of entry to—
(A)
deter and prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States at such ports of entry;
(B)
conduct inspections at such ports of entry to safeguard the United States from terrorism and illegal entry of persons;
(C)
prevent illicit drugs, agricultural pests, and contraband from entering the United States;
(D)
(E)
administer the National Targeting Center established under paragraph (4);
(F)
coordinate with the Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade with respect to the trade facilitation and trade enforcement activities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and
(G)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(4)
National Targeting Center
(A)
In general

There is established in the Office of Field Operations a National Targeting Center.

(B)
Executive Director

There shall be at the head of the National Targeting Center an Executive Director, who shall report to the Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Field Operations.

(C)
Duties
The National Targeting Center shall—
(i)
serve as the primary forum for targeting operations within U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect and analyze traveler and cargo information in advance of arrival in the United States to identify and address security risks and strengthen trade enforcement;
(ii)
identify, review, and target travelers and cargo for examination;
(iii)
coordinate the examination of entry and exit of travelers and cargo;
(iv)
develop and conduct commercial risk assessment targeting with respect to cargo destined for the United States;
(v)
coordinate with the Transportation Security Administration, as appropriate;
(vi)
issue Trade Alerts pursuant to section 4318(b) of title 19; and
(vii)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Executive Assistant Commissioner.
(5)
Annual report on staffing
(A)
In general

Not later than 30 days after February 24, 2016, and annually thereafter, the Executive Assistant Commissioner shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the staffing model for the Office of Field Operations, including information on how many supervisors, front-line U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, and support personnel are assigned to each Field Office and port of entry.

(B)
Form

The report required under subparagraph (A) shall, to the greatest extent practicable, be submitted in unclassified form, but may be submitted in classified form, if the Executive Assistant Commissioner determines that such is appropriate and informs the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance of the Senate of the reasoning for such.

(h)
Office of Intelligence
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection an Office of Intelligence.

(2)
Assistant Commissioner

There shall be at the head of the Office of Intelligence an Assistant Commissioner, who shall report to the Commissioner.

(3)
Duties
The Office of Intelligence shall—
(A)
develop, provide, coordinate, and implement intelligence capabilities into a cohesive intelligence enterprise to support the execution of the duties and responsibilities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(B)
manage the counterintelligence operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(C)
establish, in coordination with the Chief Intelligence Officer of the Department, as appropriate, intelligence-sharing relationships with Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies and intelligence agencies;
(D)
conduct risk-based covert testing of U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations, including for nuclear and radiological risks; and
(E)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(i)
Office of International Affairs
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection an Office of International Affairs.

(2)
Assistant Commissioner

There shall be at the head of the Office of International Affairs an Assistant Commissioner, who shall report to the Commissioner.

(3)
Duties
The Office of International Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of Policy of the Department, shall—
(A)
coordinate and support U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s foreign initiatives, policies, programs, and activities;
(B)
coordinate and support U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s personnel stationed abroad;
(C)
maintain partnerships and information-sharing agreements and arrangements with foreign governments, international organizations, and United States agencies in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s duties and responsibilities;
(D)
provide necessary capacity building, training, and assistance to foreign customs and border control agencies to strengthen border, global supply chain, and travel security, as appropriate;
(E)
coordinate mission support services to sustain U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s global activities;
(F)
coordinate with customs authorities of foreign countries with respect to trade facilitation and trade enforcement;
(G)
coordinate U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s engagement in international negotiations;
(H)
advise the Commissioner with respect to matters arising in the World Customs Organization and other international organizations as such matters relate to the policies and procedures of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(I)
advise the Commissioner regarding international agreements to which the United States is a party as such agreements relate to the policies and regulations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and
(J)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(j)
Office of Professional Responsibility
(1)
In general

There is established in U.S. Customs and Border Protection an Office of Professional Responsibility.

(2)
Assistant Commissioner

There shall be at the head of the Office of Professional Responsibility an Assistant Commissioner, who shall report to the Commissioner.

(3)
Duties
The Office of Professional Responsibility shall—
(A)
investigate criminal and administrative matters and misconduct by officers, agents, and other employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(B)
manage integrity-related programs and policies of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
(C)
conduct research and analysis regarding misconduct of officers, agents, and other employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and
(D)
carry out other duties and powers prescribed by the Commissioner.
(k)
Standard operating procedures
(1)
In general
The Commissioner shall establish—
(A)
standard operating procedures for searching, reviewing, retaining, and sharing information contained in communication, electronic, or digital devices encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel at United States ports of entry;
(B)
standard use of force procedures that officers and agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection may employ in the execution of their duties, including the use of deadly force;
(C)
uniform, standardized, and publicly-available procedures for processing and investigating complaints against officers, agents, and employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for violations of professional conduct, including the timely disposition of complaints and a written notification to the complainant of the status or outcome, as appropriate, of the related investigation, in accordance with section 552a of title 5 (commonly referred to as the “Privacy Act” or the “Privacy Act of 1974”);
(D)
an internal, uniform reporting mechanism regarding incidents involving the use of deadly force by an officer or agent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including an evaluation of the degree to which the procedures required under subparagraph (B) were followed; and
(E)
standard operating procedures, acting through the Executive Assistant Commissioner for Air and Marine Operations and in coordination with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of Privacy of the Department, to provide command, control, communication, surveillance, and reconnaissance assistance through the use of unmanned aerial systems, including the establishment of—
(i)
a process for other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to submit mission requests;
(ii)
a formal procedure to determine whether to approve or deny such a mission request;
(iii)
a formal procedure to determine how such mission requests are prioritized and coordinated; and
(iv)
a process regarding the protection and privacy of data and images collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the use of unmanned aerial systems.
(2)
Requirements regarding certain notifications
The standard operating procedures established pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) shall require—
(A)
in the case of a search of information conducted on an electronic device by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, the Commissioner to notify the individual subject to such search of the purpose and authority for such search, and how such individual may obtain information on reporting concerns about such search; and
(B)
in the case of information collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection through a search of an electronic device, if such information is transmitted to another Federal agency for subject matter assistance, translation, or decryption, the Commissioner to notify the individual subject to such search of such transmission.
(3)
Exceptions

The Commissioner may withhold the notifications required under paragraphs (1)(C) and (2) if the Commissioner determines, in the sole and unreviewable discretion of the Commissioner, that such notifications would impair national security, law enforcement, or other operational interests.

(4)
Update and review

The Commissioner shall review and update every three years the standard operating procedures required under this subsection.

(5)
Audits
The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security shall develop and annually administer, during each of the three calendar years beginning in the calendar year that begins after February 24, 2016, an auditing mechanism to review whether searches of electronic devices at or between United States ports of entry are being conducted in conformity with the standard operating procedures required under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1). Such audits shall be submitted to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and shall include the following:
(A)
A description of the activities of officers and agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection with respect to such searches.
(B)
The number of such searches.
(C)
The number of instances in which information contained in such devices that were subjected to such searches was retained, copied, shared, or entered in an electronic database.
(D)
The number of such devices detained as the result of such searches.
(E)
The number of instances in which information collected from such devices was subjected to such searches and was transmitted to another Federal agency, including whether such transmissions resulted in a prosecution or conviction.
(6)
Requirements regarding other notifications
The standard use of force procedures established pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall require—
(A)
in the case of an incident of the use of deadly force by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, the Commissioner to notify the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and
(B)
the Commissioner to provide to such committees a copy of the evaluation pursuant to subparagraph (D) of such paragraph not later than 30 days after completion of such evaluation.
(7)
Report on unmanned aerial systems
The Commissioner shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate an annual report, for each of the three calendar years beginning in the calendar year that begins after February 24, 2016, that reviews whether the use of unmanned aerial systems is being conducted in conformity with the standard operating procedures required under subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1). Such reports—
(A)
shall be submitted with the annual budget of the United States Government submitted by the President under section 1105 of title 31;
(B)
may be submitted in classified form if the Commissioner determines that such is appropriate; and
(C)
shall include—
(i)
a detailed description of how, where, and for how long data and images collected through the use of unmanned aerial systems by U.S. Customs and Border Protection are collected and stored; and
(ii)
a list of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies that submitted mission requests in the previous year and the disposition of such requests.
(l)
Training

The Commissioner shall require all officers and agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to participate in a specified amount of continuing education (to be determined by the Commissioner) to maintain an understanding of Federal legal rulings, court decisions, and departmental policies, procedures, and guidelines.

(m)
Short-term detention standards
(1)
Access to food and water

The Commissioner shall make every effort to ensure that adequate access to food and water is provided to an individual apprehended and detained at a United States port of entry or between ports of entry as soon as practicable following the time of such apprehension or during subsequent short-term detention.

(2)
Access to information on detainee rights at border patrol processing centers
(A)
In general

The Commissioner shall ensure that an individual apprehended by a U.S. Border Patrol agent or an Office of Field Operations officer is provided with information concerning such individual’s rights, including the right to contact a representative of such individual’s government for purposes of United States treaty obligations.

(B)
Form

(3)
Short-term detention defined

In this subsection, the term “short-term detention” means detention in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center for 72 hours or less, before repatriation to a country of nationality or last habitual residence.

(4)
Daytime repatriation

When practicable, repatriations shall be limited to daylight hours and avoid locations that are determined to have high indices of crime and violence.

(5)
Report on procurement process and standards

Not later than 180 days after February 24, 2016, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report on the procurement process and standards of entities with which U.S. Customs and Border Protection has contracts for the transportation and detention of individuals apprehended by agents or officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Such report should also consider the operational efficiency of contracting the transportation and detention of such individuals.

(6)
Report on inspections of short-term custody facilities
The Commissioner shall—
(A)
annually inspect all facilities utilized for short-term detention; and
(B)
make publicly available information collected pursuant to such inspections, including information regarding the requirements under paragraphs (1) and (2) and, where appropriate, issue recommendations to improve the conditions of such facilities.
(n)
Wait times transparency
(1)
In general
The Commissioner shall—
(A)
publish live wait times for travelers entering the United States at the 20 United States airports that support the highest volume of international travel (as determined by available Federal flight data);
(B)
make information about such wait times available to the public in real time through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website;
(C)
submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance of the Senate, for each of the five calendar years beginning in the calendar year that begins after February 24, 2016, a report that includes compilations of all such wait times and a ranking of such United States airports by wait times; and
(D)
provide adequate staffing at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection information center to ensure timely access for travelers attempting to submit comments or speak with a representative about their entry experiences.
(2)
Calculation

The wait times referred to in paragraph (1)(A) shall be determined by calculating the time elapsed between an individual’s entry into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area and such individual’s clearance by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

(o)
Other authorities
(1)
In general

The Secretary may establish such other offices or positions of Assistant Commissioners (or other similar officers or officials) as the Secretary determines necessary to carry out the missions, duties, functions, and authorities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(2)
Notification

If the Secretary exercises the authority provided under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall notify the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance of the Senate not later than 30 days before exercising such authority.

(3)
Rescue beacons

Beginning in fiscal year 2019, in carrying out subsection (c)(8), the Commissioner shall purchase, deploy, and maintain not more than 170 self-powering, 9–1–1 cellular relay rescue beacons along the southern border of the United States at locations determined appropriate by the Commissioner to mitigate migrant deaths.

(p)
Reports to Congress

The Commissioner shall, on and after February 24, 2016, continue to submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance of the Senate any report required, on the day before February 24, 2016, to be submitted under any provision of law.

(q)
Other Federal agencies

Nothing in this section may be construed as affecting in any manner the authority, existing on the day before February 24, 2016, of any other Federal agency or component of the Department.

(r)
Definitions

In this section, the terms “commercial operations”, “customs and trade laws of the United States”, “trade enforcement”, and “trade facilitation” have the meanings given such terms in section 4301 of title 19.

(Pub. L. 107–296, title IV, § 411, Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2178; Pub. L. 114–125, title VIII, § 802(a), Feb. 24, 2016, 130 Stat. 199; Pub. L. 115–79, § 4(a), Nov. 2, 2017, 131 Stat. 1260; Pub. L. 116–277, § 3, Dec. 31, 2020, 134 Stat. 3370.)
cite as: 6 USC 211