U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Facility Visits and Engagements Protocol for Members of Congress and Staff
All visitors are expected to comply with facility rules, procedures, and instructions from CBP personnel on site. To ensure security, preserve privacy, and avoid any disruptions in daily operations, all individuals permitted to tour CBP facilities shall maintain appropriate decorum, adherence to applicable CBP facility standards, and abide by this Protocol. This Protocol does not create or confer any right, privilege, or benefit for any person, party or entity. United States v. Caceres, 440 U.S. 741 (1979). Failure to adhere to this policy, as well as any facility specific requirements, may result in the termination of the visitor engagement. Please communicate any questions or concerns to the CBP Office of Congressional Affairs prior to your engagement to mitigate any misunderstandings.
Visitors entering the facility to participate in a tour are subject to a screening and/or other search of their person and belongings for security reasons. CBP retains the sole and unreviewable discretion to deny a request or otherwise cancel, reschedule or terminate a tour or visit if: 1) an emergency arises; 2) the safety, security, and orderly operations of the facility are potentially jeopardized; 3) any violation(s) of this Protocol occur; 4) any other identified operational concerns exist; 5) facility management or other CBP officials deem it appropriate to do so.
Members of Congress (Members), Congressional Member Delegations (CODELs), and Congressional Staff Delegations (STAFFDELs) are afforded access, within the contours of this document, to CBP facilities. These visits are limited to Members and congressional staff only. All other requests for tours (e.g., media representatives, local officials, non-governmental organizations, members of the public, etc.) should be directed to the area CBP external affairs representative with jurisdiction over the facility for coordination and approval.
- Request Process: When planning to visit a CBP facility, CBP asks for requests to be submitted at least 72 hours in advance of the visit. However, CBP will do its best to accommodate visit requests from Members of Congress and congressional staff submitted less than 72 hours in advance of the visit, but CBP requires a minimum of 24 hours notice for visits by congressional staff. Congressional staff may contact CBP’s Office of Congressional Affairs at OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov to request a tour. The request should include the dates of the proposed visit, the visit location, the length of time for the visit, and the names and titles of all participants in the visit. CBP’s Office of Congressional Affairs will work to accommodate the visit request and will confirm details as soon as practicable.
- Impact Considerations: Group size, visit date, or visit itinerary may be requested to be modified in order to reduce CBP operational impact at the time of the visit while still accommodating the visit request.
- Identification: All visitors must present a valid, government-issued identification card to enter a CBP facility. Please have congressional identification ready to validate access. If an individual is not in possession of congressional identification or another form of identification, the individual may not be allowed to enter CBP facilities and participate in the engagement. Only those participants scheduled for the visitor engagement will be allowed to participate.
- Security Screening: CBP sites are secure facilities. As such, visitors may be subject to security screening prior to entry into the facility. Visitors should plan to leave all personal items in their vehicles.
Phones and Recording Devices
To protect the privacy rights of the minors and adults in CBP holding facilities (to include the right to not be photographed or recorded without consent), as well as those of CBP employees, no electronic or recording devices, cameras, laptops, or wireless communication devices including smart phones, smart watches, or other mobile phones will be permitted inside CBP facilities without advance written approval from the facility and the appropriate CBP HQ representative(s). Before attempting to enter any CBP facility, all visitors should leave cell phones and other electronics in their vehicle. Alternatively, visitors may have the opportunity to place their devices in a lock box upon arrival. No recording or photography is permitted inside of CBP facilities without advance approval. Upon request, CBP may provide a photographer and distribute approved photographs following the visit/engagement.
CBP facilities and personnel may not be used for campaign activities such as town hall meetings, rallies, speeches, fundraisers, press conferences, photo opportunities, or other similar events. This is true even if a facility has a policy to permit public use of some portion of the facilities. Only Members of Congress and their official staff on official government business are permitted on congressional tours absent prior approval by CBP (i.e., no accompanying media or photographers, campaign pins, distribution of literature, or outside campaign volunteers and consultants). Furthermore, Congressional access to facilities, assets and personnel is permitted by law for purposes of Congressional oversight and not for political purposes. To help us ensure that no CBP agents, officers, and/or employees violate the Hatch Act, we appreciate your commitment to not use any photos or other media, to include social media, that would place CBP personnel in uniform and/or at the federal facility in the media or campaign statements and materials.
COVID-19 Federal Workforce Protection Requirements
Due to COVID-19 concerns, current federal requirements, and CBP policy, visitors to CBP should wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines, while in any CBP facility. Upon submitting requests, groups may be asked to reduce the number of personnel as necessary to abide by recommended capacity limits and to ensure the health and safety of all individuals in CBP facilities. CBP may also request that the size of a group be reduced or divided into smaller groups to ensure proper social distancing while in a facility.
Interactions with Persons in CBP Holding Facilities or CBP Personnel
Visitors shall not:
Enter, move about, or leave the facility without being properly escorted by CBP staff.
Have any physical or verbal contact with any person in CBP holding facilities, including children, unless previously requested and specifically approved by CBP Headquarters. Physical and verbal contact with persons in CBP holding facilities, to include children, is limited to safeguard privacy and to ensure the engagement progresses on schedule.
Have any physical or verbal contact with persons in CBP holding facilities and/or staff not involved in delivery of the tour absent express consent of the persons and approval in advance from CBP.
Solicit legal clients or engage in other business that involves direct or indirect interaction with persons in CBP holding facilities absent approval in advance from CBP.
Engage in commercial solicitation, distribution of materials, or any activity for the purpose of financial gain.
Coerce or intimidate any person in CBP holding facilities or CBP personnel.
No weapons of any kind, to include knives, sharp objects, or firearms, will be allowed in CBP facilities. Attendees will be asked to leave all weapons in the transportation vehicle or lock box prior to entering CBP facilities.
Please note that donations of any kind cannot be accepted at CBP facilities.
(Current as of 4/3/2021)