"The United States now has a unified inspections operation at the borders; a single inspector is charged with examining people, animals, plants, goods, and cargo upon entry to the country. The transfer of these functions to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) marks a significant policy shift for all of these functions, clarifying that- although there are important commercial, economic, health, humanitarian, and immigration responsibilities- ensuring the security of our borders is the top priority. The decision by DHS officials to further integrate the inspection duties so that there is 'one face at the border' now means that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors are essentially interchangeable and responsible for all primary inspections…Some argue that this reorganization of border inspections has been long needed and is resulting in a more streamlined and efficient set of procedures at the border with a clear, single, chain of command. Others warn that the different types of inspections are quite complex in their own right and that the reorganization is exacerbating the conflicting priorities at the border, ultimately resulting in many more people and goods being sent to secondary inspections. This report, which will not be updated, discusses a range of legal, administrative, and policy issues that are emerging with the implementation of the unified border inspections."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32399