Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Definition - What does Immigration and Customs Enforcement mean?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which was created in 2003 with the merger of U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has 20,000 employees in 50 states. ICE is now part of the United States Department of Homeland Security and is tasked with enforcing the nation's immigration laws in an appropriate, legal and fair manner.

As part of its duties ICE is responsible for apprehending and removing aliens. This can begin with the apprehension and arrest of the illegal alien followed by removal or prosecution of aliens who pose a threat to our national security. Some detainees will have the legal right to seek asylum which can be done by moving them to an alternative detention program and helping them get access to the appropriate resources or advocacy groups.

ICE is currently headquartered in Washington, DC. It has an annual budget (as of 2013) of approximately $6 billion. The director of ICE is appointed by the President of the United States and reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Currently, ICE manages hundreds of detention centers throughout the U.S. housing over 30,000 aliens. Reports estimate there are over 500 alien deportations each day.

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