Border Security: Inspections Practices, Policies, and Issues [Updated October 13, 2004] [open pdf - 281KB]
"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. A range of legal, administrative, and policy issues have emerged with unified border inspections. The bills implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations (S. 2845, H.R. 10, S. 2774/H.R. 5040 and H.R. 5024) have various provisions affecting border inspections."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32399