U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will be key players in putting President Donald TrumpÕs revised travel ban that went into effect Thursday, affecting visitors from six mostly Muslim countries. They are the officers dressed in blue who are stationed at airports and border crossings and screen people coming into the U.S.ÊThey stamp passports, inspect travel documents, confiscate drugs and other illicit items and make sure belongings and purchases are properly declared.
What is Customs and Border Protection?
The agency was created as part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 after attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Its largest division Ñ the Office of Field Operations Ñ admits people and goods at 328 airports, land crossings and seaports. They admitted 390 million travelers during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, including 119 million at airports.
Much of the work done by the agency is at border crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border. ÊThe busiest point of entry is San DiegoÕs San Ysidro crossing with Tijuana, Mexico, with 31.8 million admissions during the latest 12-month period, an average of 87,000 a day.
How will officers enforce the travel ban?
The Trump administration last week set new criteria for visa applicants from the six countries and all refugees that require a ÒcloseÓ family or business tie to the United States.
Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from the six countries must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S.
Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates on Wednesday.
The task falls largely to the State Department but Customs and Border Protection officers would get involved if someone from one of the six countries arrived without a visa or there was a reason to question the validity of their documents.