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Suspension and Debarment Frequently Asked Questions

Nonprocurement Suspension and Debarment at CBP

Q1. What is nonprocurement suspension and debarment? 
A1. Suspension is a temporary exclusion from taking part in covered transactions, pending the completion of an agency investigation and any judicial or administrative proceeding that may ensue. Debarment is an action taken to exclude a person from participating in covered transactions.

Q2. What is a nonprocurement covered transaction? 
A2. A covered transaction is any nonprocurement transaction between an agency and a person, regardless of type, including: grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, fellowships, contracts of assistance, loans, loan guarantees, subsidies, insurance, payments for specified use, donation agreements, and any other nonprocurement transactions between a Federal agency and a person.

Q3. What would cause CBP to propose a suspension or debarment action? 
A3. CBP may suspend or debar any individual, corporation, partnership, association, unit of government, or legal entity, however organized, for commission of any offense demonstrating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects the respondent’s present responsibility including:

  1. Criminal conviction or civil judgment for:

    1. Commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public or private agreement or transaction;
    2. Violation of Federal or State antitrust statutes;
    3. Commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, tax evasion, receiving stolen property, making false claims, or obstruction of justice;
    4. Commission of any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects present responsibility
  2. Failure to pay a single substantial debt, or a number of outstanding debts owed to CBP (e.g. unpaid bills or penalties)

  3. Any other cause of so serious or compelling a nature that it correlates with a lack of present responsibility

Q4. How long does a suspension or debarment last? 
A4. Suspension and/or debarment shall be for a period commensurate with the seriousness of the cause(s). Generally, debarment is for up to 3 years.

Q5. What is CBP’s suspension and debarment authority? Is this new authority? Where does this authority come from? 
A5. CBP’s nonprocurement suspension and debarment authority is established under the Department of Homeland Security’s existing suspension and debarment program and is executed pursuant to the following edicts:

  1. Executive Order 12549, Feb. 18, 1986 (51 FR 6370);
  2. Office of Management and Budget Nonprocurement Common Rule, 2 CFR Part 180
  3. DHS Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension Rules, 2 C.F.R. Part 3000

Q6.  What are the effects of suspension and debarment? 
A6.  Suspension and debarment actions prevent business entities and individuals from participation in future government contracts, subcontracts, grants, loans and other assistance programs. This administrative process is used to address non-compliance with specific laws, malfeasance, or gross misconduct affecting the Federal Government's interest. Suspensions and debarments are not punishments; instead, these actions ensure the Federal Government only does business with responsible entities.

Q7.  How do I determine if an entity is Suspended or Debarred? 
A7. The names and addresses of all entities debarred or suspended are entered in the System for Award Management (SAM), an electronic database maintained and posted by the General Services Administration that lists names and other information concerning entities who are ineligible to receive Government contracts or nonprocurement covered transactions. The SAM Exclusions may be accessed at https://www.sam.gov (free registration required).

Q8. Are there other alternatives available in the suspension or debarment Process? 
A8. There are other administrative alternatives available under this program. The agency may issue a request for information, issue a show cause letter, or enter into an administrative compliance agreement.

  • Request for Information – Informal notice sent by CBP Suspension and Debarment Director (SDD) or CBP Suspension and Debarment Coordinator (SDC) at CBP to the respondent requesting additional information on a particular matter. This affords the respondent an opportunity to present information to the SDD or SDC to determine if a referral for suspension or debarment is appropriate to refer to the CBP Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO).
  • Show Cause Letter – A notice, sent by the SDO to a respondent, that a suspension or debarment action is being considered and affords the respondent the opportunity to present information before a decision to suspend or debar is made.
  • Administrative Compliance Agreement – An agreement between the Government and respondent in lieu of suspension or debarment. Routinely, the agreement includes acceptance of responsibility for the conduct that gave rise to the agreement, a requirement for a code of ethics, a training program for all employees, an audit and internal control program, a compliance program, and a mechanism for reporting misconduct. Violation of the terms of an agreement provides an independent cause for debarment.
Last modified: 
September 19, 2017