Border Security: Immigration Inspections at Ports of Entry [January 9, 2014]   [open pdf - 495KB]

"About 362 million travelers (citizens and non-citizens) entered the United States in FY2013, including about 102 million air passengers and crew, 18 million sea passengers and crew, and 242 million incoming land travelers. At the same time about 205,000 aliens were denied admission at ports of entry (POEs); and about 24,000 persons were arrested at POEs on criminal warrants. [...] Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) is responsible for conducting immigration inspections at America's 329 POEs. CBP's primary immigration enforcement mission at ports of entry is to confirm that travelers are eligible to enter the United States and to exclude inadmissible aliens. Yet strict enforcement is in tension with a second core mission: to facilitate the flow of lawful travelers, who are the vast majority of persons seeking admission. […] The inspections process and entry-exit system may raise a number of questions for Congress, including in the context of the ongoing debate about immigration reform. What is the scope of illegal migration through ports of entry, and how can Congress and DHS minimize illegal flows without unduly slowing legal travel? Congress may consider steps to enhance POE personnel and infrastructure and to expand trusted travel programs. Congress also may continue to seek the completion of the entry-exit system, a program that has been the subject of ongoing legislative activity since 1996, as summarized in the Appendix to this report."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43356
Public Domain
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