WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was established in 2003 as part of the Department of Homeland Security to create a single, unified command agency focused on the security of our nation’s borders following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Now one of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies with 60,000 dedicated employees, CBP is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks by highlighting the ways its operations have evolved over the past two decades.
CBP published a Frontline article, “A Moment of Tragedy, a Catalyst of Change,” featuring current and former CBP personnel detailing how the efficiencies developed over the past 20 years have put CBP in a better position to stop threats.
In addition, CBP has posted two videos providing a look into today’s CBP through the eyes of its personnel:
- Video Montage: This short music video, “Tougher Together,” incorporates imagery of CBP’s legacy agencies right after the horrendous attack, the formation of CBP, and its current day mission.
- CBP Testimonials: This short video, “A Time for Courage,” includes interviews with personnel throughout CBP talking about why they serve, the significance of the anniversary, and how it influences their work at CBP.
CBP has also released video packages showing the progress made in securing the land, air and sea near our borders and showcasing technology used to screen passengers and cargo:
- Air and Marine Operations (AMO): Created on Jan. 17, 2006, AMO merged legacy air and marine programs from the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Border Patrol and is responsible for safeguarding the nation from the air and sea. AMO agents have flown 1.3 million flight hours, conducted more than 537,000 float hours and seized or disrupted 10.8 million pounds of drugs in its 15 years. It is the agency’s smallest operational component with 1,800 agents.
- Global Entry: Through Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry, CBP can engage with potential travelers before they travel through an advanced inspection. Global Entry is CBP’s largest Trusted Traveler program, with dedicated kiosks at 76 airports, including all 15 preclearance locations. CBP has received approximately 12 million applications since the program was launched in 2008, and currently has 7.3 million members enrolled, including citizens from 17 partner countries around the world.
- Simplified Arrival: Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. Facial biometrics provide travelers with a touchless process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. To date, more than 88 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and sea ports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent nearly 870 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.
- Forward Operating Labs: Located at strategic locations throughout the country, these labs provide on-site, rapid analysis of suspected materials. Instead of transporting seizures from the front line to the lab, CBP can identify a threat faster and speed the time a case goes to prosecution.
- Innovative Border Technology: USBP has increased its use of technology – including integrating small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) – to respond to known threats in real time, as well as to provide the best possible information of the types and frequency of illicit activity occurring along the border. Technology investments enable informed decision-making in response to target areas and detected illegal entries, and improve the safety and security of USBP agents and the traveling public.
Every day, the men and women at CBP make the commitment to protect our homeland and uphold our Nation’s law. The stories and videos released today are just a few of the many examples of how CBP’s work makes our country safer and stronger, and serves as a daily tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for others that day.