Border inspection functions now under BCBP agency
On March 1, 2003, the border inspection functions of the U.S. Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection Service, along with the U.S. Border Patrol, were transferred to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP).
According to the Office of the Press Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, BCBP unifies all of the border-related federal agencies (those responsible for border enforcement, protection, and inspection at and between the over 300 U.S. ports of entry), for the first time in U.S. history.
�The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection brings together approximately 35,000 federal employees, including 17,000 inspectors and canine enforcement officers from the APHIS - Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program, INS inspection services, and the Customs Service, and 10,000 Border Patrol agents,� public affairs officer Garrison Courtney said in a written statement.
Robert C. Bonner has been appointed as commissioner of BCBP, and will report to the Department of Homeland Security, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, Asa Hutchinson.
�It is the goal of BCBP to provide the American public with greater security and to facilitate the flow of legitimate people and goods across the United States border,� Courtney said. �As its primary mission, BCBP will focus on preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.�
As of last Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security assumed operational control of nearly 180,000 employees from incoming agencies and offices. The department has assumed control of the following programs and agencies:
� Strategic national stockpile previously under the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures the availability and rapid deployment of life-saving pharmaceuticals, antidotes, and other medical supplies and equipment.
� Domestic emergency support teams previously under the Department of Justice that provide expert advice, guidance and support to the federal on-scene commander during an incident involving weapons of mass destruction or a credible threat.
� Nuclear incident support teams, atmospheric release advisory capability, radiological assistance program and the aerial measuring system previously under the Department of Energy that provides radiological response assets to respond during a radiological incident.
� National disaster medical teams previously under the Department of Health and Human Services that establish a single, integrated national medical response capability for assisting state and local authorities in dealing with the medical and health effects of major disasters and terrorist attacks. �
In order to unify the chain of command and allow key immigration, customs and agriculture officers and inspectors to take their direction from only one manager, INS will transition into the Department of Homeland Security under three separate components: the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP). Forms and documents issued by the INS are still valid, and customers will continue to find services in the same locations.