19 U.S. Code § 1305 - Immoral articles; importation prohibited

(a) Prohibition of importation
All persons are prohibited from importing into the United States from any foreign country any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertisement, circular, print, picture, or drawing containing any matter advocating or urging treason or insurrection against the United States, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States, or containing any threat to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the United States, or any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertisement, circular, print, picture, drawing, or other representation, figure, or image on or of paper or other material, or any cast, instrument, or other article which is obscene or immoral, or any drug or medicine or any article whatever for causing unlawful abortion, or any lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery. No such articles whether imported separately or contained in packages with other goods entitled to entry, shall be admitted to entry; and all such articles and, unless it appears to the satisfaction of the appropriate customs officer that the obscene or other prohibited articles contained in the package were inclosed therein without the knowledge or consent of the importer, owner, agent, or consignee, the entire contents of the package in which such articles are contained, shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture as hereinafter provided: Provided, That the drugs hereinbefore mentioned, when imported in bulk and not put up for any of the purposes hereinbefore specified, are excepted from the operation of this subdivision: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Treasury may, in his discretion, admit the so-called classics or books of recognized and established literary or scientific merit, but may, in his discretion, admit such classics or books only when imported for noncommercial purposes: Provided further, That effective January 1, 1993, this section shall not apply to any lottery ticket, printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or advertisement of any lottery, that is printed in Canada for use in connection with a lottery conducted in the United States.
(b)  1 Enforcement procedures
Upon the appearance of any such book or matter at any customs office, the same shall be seized and held by the appropriate customs officer to await the judgment of the district court as hereinafter provided; and no protest shall be taken to the United States Court of International Trade from the decision of such customs officer. Upon the seizure of such book or matter, such customs officer shall transmit information thereof to the United States attorney of the district in which is situated either—
(1) the office at which such seizure took place; or
(2) the place to which such book or matter is addressed;
and the United States attorney shall institute proceedings in the district court for the forfeiture, confiscation, and destruction of the book or matter seized. Upon the adjudication that such book or matter thus seized is of the character the entry of which is by this section prohibited, it shall be ordered destroyed and shall be destroyed. Upon adjudication that such book or matter thus seized is not of the character the entry of which is by this section prohibited, it shall not be excluded from entry under the provisions of this section.
In any such proceeding any party in interest may upon demand have the facts at issue determined by a jury and any party may have an appeal or the right of review as in the case of ordinary actions or suits.
(c)  1 Institution of forfeiture proceedings
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, whenever a customs officer discovers any obscene material after such material has been imported or brought into the United States, or attempted to be imported or brought into the United States, he may refer the matter to the United States attorney for the institution of forfeiture proceedings under this section. Such proceedings shall begin no more than 30 days after the time the material is seized; except that no seizure or forfeiture shall be invalidated for delay if the claimant is responsible for extending the action beyond the allowable time limits or if proceedings are postponed pending the consideration of constitutional issues.
(d) Stay of forfeiture proceedings
Upon motion of the United States, a court shall stay such civil forfeiture proceedings commenced under this section pending the completion of any related criminal matter.
(b)  1 Coordination of forfeiture proceedings with criminal proceedings
(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, whenever the Customs Service is of the opinion that criminal prosecution would be appropriate or that further criminal investigation is warranted in connection with allegedly obscene material seized at the time of entry, the appropriate customs officer shall immediately transmit information concerning such seizure to the United States Attorney  [2] of the district of the addressee’s residence. No notice to the addressee or consignee concerning the seizure is required at the time of such transmittal.
(2) Upon receipt of such information, such United States attorney shall promptly determine whether in such attorney’s opinion the referral of the matter for forfeiture under this section would materially affect the Government’s ability to conduct a criminal investigation with respect to such seizure.
(3) If the United States attorney is of the opinion that no prejudice to such investigation will result from such referral, such attorney shall immediately so notify the Customs Service in writing. The appropriate customs officer shall immediately notify in writing the addressee or consignee of the seizure and shall transmit information concerning such seizure to the United States Attorney  [2] of the district in which is situated the office at which such seizure has taken place. The actions described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection shall take place within sufficient time to allow for the filing of a forfeiture complaint within 14 days of the seizure unless the United States Attorney  [2] of the district of the addressee’s residence certifies in writing and includes specific, articulable facts demonstrating that the determination required in paragraph (2) of this subsection could not be made in sufficient time to comply with this deadline. In such cases, the actions described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection shall take place within sufficient time to allow for the filing of a forfeiture complaint within 21 days of seizure.
(4) If the United States attorney for the district of the addressee’s residence concludes that material prejudice to such investigation will result from such referral, such United States attorney shall place on file, within 14 days of the date of seizure, a dated certification stating that it is the United States attorney’s judgment that referral of the matter for forfeiture under this section would materially affect the Government’s ability to conduct a criminal investigation with respect to the seizure. The certification shall set forth specific, articulable facts demonstrating that withholding referral for forfeiture is necessary.
(5)
(A) As soon as the circumstances change so that withholding of referral for forfeiture is no longer necessary for purposes of the criminal investigation, the United States attorney shall immediately so notify the Customs Service in writing and shall furnish a copy of the certification described in paragraph (4) above to the Customs Service.
(B) In any matter referred to a United States attorney for possible criminal prosecution wherein subparagraph (5)(A) does not apply, the United States attorney shall immediately notify the Customs Service in writing concerning the disposition of the matter, whether by institution of a prosecution or a letter of declination, and shall also furnish a copy of the certification described in paragraph (4) of this subsection to the Customs Service.
(C) Upon receipt of the notification described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph, the appropriate customs officer shall immediately notify the addressee or consignee of the seizure and shall transmit information concerning the seizure, including a copy of the certification described in paragraph (4) above and a copy of the notification described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph, to the United States attorney of the district in which is situated the office at which such seizure has taken place, who shall institute forfeiture proceedings in accordance with subsection (a) hereof within 14 days of the date of the notification described in subparagraph (A) or (B) above. A copy of the certification described in paragraph (4) above and a copy of the notification described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph shall be affixed to the complaint for forfeiture.
(c)  3 Stay on motion
Upon motion of the United States, a court, for good cause shown, shall stay civil forfeiture proceedings commenced under this section pending the completion of any related criminal matter whether in the same or in a different district.


[1]  So in original. Two subsecs. (b) and (c) have been enacted. Second subsecs. (b) and (c) probably should be designated (e) and (f), respectively.

[2]  So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.

[3]  So in original. Two subsecs. (b) and (c) have been enacted. Second subsecs. (b) and (c) probably should be designated (e) and (f), respectively.

Source

(June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title III, § 305,46 Stat. 688; June 25, 1948, ch. 645, § 21,62 Stat. 862; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, § 1,62 Stat. 869; Pub. L. 91–271, title III, § 301(a),June 2, 1970, 84 Stat. 287; Pub. L. 91–662, § 1,Jan. 8, 1971, 84 Stat. 1973; Pub. L. 96–417, title VI, § 601(2),Oct. 10, 1980, 94 Stat. 1744; Pub. L. 100–418, title I, § 1901(a),Aug. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 1312; Pub. L. 100–449, title II, § 206,Sept. 28, 1988, 102 Stat. 1864; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7522(e)[d], Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4500.)
Amendment of Section

For termination of amendment by section 501(c) ofPub. L. 100–449, see Effective and Termination Dates of 1988 Amendment note below.
Prior Provisions

Provisions in substantially the same language as those in this section were made by act Oct. 3, 1913, ch. 16, § IV, subsections 1, 2, and 3,38 Stat. 194, superseding similar provisions of previous tariff acts. Those subsections were superseded by act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title III, § 305,42 Stat. 937, and repealed by section 321 of that act. Section 305 of act Sept. 21, 1922, was superseded by section 305 of act June 17, 1930, comprising this section, and repealed by section 651(a)(1) of the 1930 act.
Amendments

1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–449temporarily inserted proviso at end of first par. directing that, “effective January 1, 1993, this section shall not apply to any lottery ticket, printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or advertisement of any lottery, that is printed in Canada for use in connection with a lottery conducted in the United States”. See Effective and Termination Dates of 1988 Amendment note below.
Pub. L. 100–418, § 1901(a)(1), designated second par. of subsec. (a) assubsec. (b) “Enforcement procedures”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–690, § 7522(e), added subsec. (b) relating to coordination of forfeiture proceedings with criminal proceedings.
Pub. L. 100–418, § 1901(a)(1), (2), designated second par. of subsec. (a) assubsec. (b) “Enforcement procedures” and amended second sentence generally. Prior to amendment, second sentence read as follows: “Upon the seizure of such book or matter such customs officer shall transmit information thereof to the United States attorney of the district in which is situated the office at which such seizure has taken place, who shall institute proceedings in the district court for the forfeiture, confiscation, and destruction of the book or matter seized.”
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 100–690, § 7522(e), added subsec. (c) relating to stay on motion.
Pub. L. 100–418, § 1901(a)(3), added subsec. (c) relating to institution of forfeiture proceedings.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 100–418added subsec. (d) relating to stay of forfeiture proceedings.
1980—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 96–417, in second undesignated par., redesignated the United States Customs Court as the United States Court of International Trade.
1971—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 91–662struck out “for the prevention of conception or” before “for causing unlawful abortion”.
1970—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 91–271substituted references to the appropriate customs officer for references to the collector wherever appearing.
1948—Subsec. (b). Act June 25, 1948, eff. Sept. 1, 1948, repealed subsec. (b) which related to penalties against government officers. See section 552 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.
Change of Name

Act June 25, 1948, eff. Sept. 1, 1948, substituted “United States attorney” for “district attorney”. See section 541 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, and Historical and Revision Notes thereunder.
Effective and Termination Dates of 1988 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 100–449effective on date the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement enters into force (Jan. 1, 1989), and to cease to have effect on date Agreement ceases to be in force, see section 501(a), (c) ofPub. L. 100–449, set out in a note under section 2112 of this title.
Pub. L. 100–418, title I, § 1901(b),Aug. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 1312, provided that: “The amendments made by subsection (a) [amending this section] apply with respect to articles entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after the 15th day after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 23, 1988].”
Effective Date of 1980 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–417effective Nov. 1, 1980, and applicable with respect to civil actions pending on or commenced on or after such date, see section 701(a) ofPub. L. 96–417, set out as a note under section 251 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
Effective Date of 1971 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 91–662effective Jan. 9, 1971, see section 7 ofPub. L. 91–662, set out as a note under section 552 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.
Effective Date of 1970 Amendment

For effective date of amendment by Pub. L. 91–271, see section 203 ofPub. L. 91–271, set out as a note under section 1500 of this title.
Transfer of Functions

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the United States Customs Service of the Department of the Treasury, including functions of the Secretary of the Treasury relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 203 (1), 551 (d), 552 (d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.
Functions of all other officers of Department of the Treasury and functions of all agencies and employees of such Department transferred, with certain exceptions, to Secretary of the Treasury, with power vested in him to authorize their performance or performance of any of his functions, by any of such officers, agencies, and employees, by Reorg. Plan No. 26 of 1950, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, 1281, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. Customs officers, referred to in text, were under Department of the Treasury.
Importation of RU–486

Memorandum of President of the United States, Jan. 22, 1993, 58 F.R. 7459, provided:
Memorandum for the Secretary of Health and Human Services
In Import Alert 66–47, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) excluded the drug Mifepristine—commonly known as RU–486—from the list of drugs that individuals can import into the United States for their “personal use,” although the drugs have not yet been approved for distribution by the FDA. (See FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9–71.) Import Alert 66–47 effectively bans the importation into this Nation of a drug that is used in other nations as a nonsurgical means of abortion.
I am informed that in excluding RU–486 from the personal use importation exemption, the FDA appears to have based its decision on factors other than an assessment of the possible health and safety risks of the drug. Accordingly, I hereby direct that you promptly instruct the FDA to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant exclusion of RU–486 from the list of drugs that qualify for the personal use importation exemption. Furthermore, if the FDA concludes that RU–486 meets the criteria for the personal use importation exemption, I direct that you immediately take steps to rescind Import Alert 66–47.
In addition, I direct that you promptly assess initiatives by which the Department of Health and Human Services can promote the testing, licensing, and manufacturing in the United States of RU–486 or other antiprogestins.
You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
William J. Clinton.

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19 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

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19 CFR - Customs Duties

19 CFR Part 12 - SPECIAL CLASSES OF MERCHANDISE

19 CFR Part 145 - MAIL IMPORTATIONS

 

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