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What We Do


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What We Do Overview
What We Do Overview
What We Do Overview

ICE'S mission is to protect America from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.

This mission is executed through the enforcement of more than 400 federal statutes and focuses on smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and goods.

Immigration Enforcement

Securing our nation's borders and safeguarding the integrity of our immigration system is a primary focus of ICE officers and agents throughout the country. Immigration enforcement is the largest single area of responsibility for ERO and is a critical component of the overall safety, security, and well-being of our nation.

While ERO has significant assets near the border, the majority of its immigration enforcement mission takes place in the interior of the country. To accomplish ICE's important immigration enforcement objectives, ERO coordinates closely with law enforcement partners within the U.S. and around the world. One of the most notable law enforcement coordination and partnership efforts within ERO involves the biometric and biographic identification of priority aliens who are incarcerated within federal, state, and local prisons and jails.

ERO works with law enforcement partners in the shared responsibility for ensuring the safety of our communities through a variety resources and programs. The 287(g) program enables a state or local law enforcement entity to receive delegated authority, training, and technology resources for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions. ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center coordinates response and enforcement actions with law enforcement partners using biometrics to identify foreign-born individuals arrested for criminal offenses.

ERO also enhances the impact of multi-agency task forces through its administrative authority to arrest individuals deemed a threat to public safety on their unlawful immigration status without additional criminal charges. Finally, leveraging resources available through foreign law enforcement partners including INTERPOL and the ICE Attaché corps, ERO develops investigative leads and provides support in locating and arresting foreign nationals wanted for crimes committed abroad who are now at-large in the U.S.

Browse through the "Immigration Enforcement" category of the What We Do drop-down menu to learn more.

Combating Transnational Crime

As one of the country's premier federal law enforcement agencies, ICE is dedicated to detecting and dismantling transnational criminal networks that target the American people and threaten our industries, organizations and financial systems. Combating cross-border criminal activity is the largest single area of responsibility of HSI, and is a critical component of the overall safety, security, and well-being of our nation.

HSI investigates the criminal enterprises that engage in a broad range of illicit activity including narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, gang violence, money laundering and other financial crimes, intellectual property theft, and customs fraud. HSI also investigates a broad range of cybercrime, including child exploitation in the commitment to securing both physical and virtual borders.

HSI is committed to identifying and disrupting the movement of illicit proceeds generated by these criminal organizations and activities in an effort to safeguard our nation's trade, travel and financial systems.

Our workforce maintains effective relationships throughout the global law enforcement community and works closely with our domestic and international partners at every level to ensure the safety of all Americans.

Browse through the "Investigating the Illegal Movement of People and Goods" category of the What We Do drop-down menu to learn more.

Preventing Terrorism

With a workforce numbering approximately 20,000 including deportation officers, special agents, analysts, and professional staff, ICE stands at the forefront of our nation's efforts to strengthen border security and prevent the illegal movement of people, goods, and funds into, within, and out of the United States. The agency's broad investigative authorities are directly related to our country's ongoing efforts to combat terrorism at home and abroad.

HSI is the largest contributor to the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces and employs its unique and exclusive immigration and trade-based authorities to disrupt terrorist networks and prevent attacks against the homeland. This work includes HSI initiating investigations into transnational criminal organizations and subjects of national security concern or interest who are involved in narcotics smuggling, human trafficking and smuggling, and immigration document and benefit fraud, as well as investigating trade-based money laundering and intellectual property crimes used to finance or support terrorists or their activities. HSI is also responsible for preventing terrorist groups, illicit procurement networks, and hostile nations from acquiring U.S. military hardware, sensitive technical data, dual-use technology, and other materials used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

HSI and ERO are recognized as essential partners in numerous national and international task force operations that target terrorist activities and are dedicated to investigating, prosecuting, and removing human rights violators and war criminals to prevent the U.S. from becoming a safe haven.

Browse through the "Preventing Terrorism" category of the What We Do drop-down menu to learn more

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/04/2018