In order to be more effective in that mission, HSI works collaboratively with federal, state and local partners in a force multiplier approach to investigations.
As part of that approach, HSI is authorized under Title 19, section 1401 of the U.S. Code to cross-designate other federal, state and local law enforcement officers to investigate and enforce customs laws.
Customs cross-designation authority can also be extended to foreign law enforcement partners for cases that cross international boundaries. This authority enhances HSI's ability to work more closely with these counterparts, fostering secure relationships and cooperation between the U.S. and other countries.
After receiving standardized training, each cross-designated customs officer has the authority to enforce U.S. customs laws and to perform the duties of HSI special agents as granted by the respective special agent in charge. Those duties include:
Designated customs officers are authorized to execute and serve search or arrest warrants, subpoenas and summonses in compliance with customs laws.
Designated customs officers are authorized to conduct customs searches at the border for merchandise being imported into or exported from the U.S. and to effect seizures and arrests of persons or articles in violation of U.S law.
Designated customs officers are authorized to carry firearms in compliance with the HSI's firearms policy. Designation status for all officers is valid for a period of two years, after which time they must receive recertification training. Designation can be revoked at any time by the special agent in charge.