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Customs Cross Designation

Partnering in Support of the ICE Investigative Mission

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is charged with a wide array of law enforcement duties aimed at protecting the homeland. In order to be more effective in that mission, ICE works collaboratively with federal, state and local partners in a force multiplier approach to investigations.

As part of that force multiplier approach, ICE is authorized under Title 19 of U.S. Code 1401 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 ICE's ability to work more closely with these counterparts, fostering secure relationships and cooperation between the U.S. and other countries.

Strengthening Task Forces

Federal, state, local and foreign officers who receive Title 19 customs officer authority supplement the ICE investigative mission and participate on task forces throughout the United States and abroad. These task forces are just one of many tools that ICE uses to attack criminal organizations that use narcotics smuggling, money laundering, human smuggling and trafficking, and fraud to threaten our borders.

In Action

After receiving standardized ICE training, each cross-designated customs officer has the authority to enforce U.S. customs laws and to perform the duties of ICE special agents as granted by the ICE special agent in charge (SAC), including the following:

  • 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; and
  • Designated customs officers are authorized to carry firearms in compliance with the ICE 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 ICE SAC.

Updated: 09/04/2014