19 U.S. Code § 1583 - Examination of outbound mail

(a) Examination
(1) In general
For purposes of ensuring compliance with the Customs laws of the United States and other laws enforced by the Customs Service, including the provisions of law described in paragraph (2), a Customs officer may, subject to the provisions of this section, stop and search at the border, without a search warrant, mail of domestic origin transmitted for export by the United States Postal Service and foreign mail transiting the United States that is being imported or exported by the United States Postal Service.
(2) Provisions of law described
The provisions of law described in this paragraph are the following:
(A) Section 5316 of title 31 (relating to reports on exporting and importing monetary instruments).
(B) Sections 1461, 1463, 1465, and 1466, andchapter 110 of title 18 (relating to obscenity and child pornography).
(C) Section 953 of title 21 (relating to exportation of controlled substances).
(D) The Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 App. U.S.C. 2401 et seq.).
(E) Section 2778 of title 22.
(F) The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
(b) Search of mail not sealed against inspection and other mail
Mail not sealed against inspection under the postal laws and regulations of the United States, mail which bears a Customs declaration, and mail with respect to which the sender or addressee has consented in writing to search, may be searched by a Customs officer.
(c) Search of mail sealed against inspection weighing in excess of 16 ounces
(1) In general
Mail weighing in excess of 16 ounces sealed against inspection under the postal laws and regulations of the United States may be searched by a Customs officer, subject to paragraph (2), if there is reasonable cause to suspect that such mail contains one or more of the following:
(A) Monetary instruments, as defined in section 1956 of title 18.
(B) A weapon of mass destruction, as defined in section 2332a (b)  [1] of title 18.
(C) A drug or other substance listed in schedule I, II, III, or IV in section 812 of title 21.
(D) National defense and related information transmitted in violation of any of sections 793 through 798 of title 18.
(E) Merchandise mailed in violation of section 1715 or 1716 of title 18.
(F) Merchandise mailed in violation of any provision of chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) or chapter 110 (relating to sexual exploitation and other abuse of children) of title 18.
(G) Merchandise mailed in violation of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 App. U.S.C. 2401 et seq.).
(H) Merchandise mailed in violation of section 2778 of title 22.
(I) Merchandise mailed in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
(J) Merchandise mailed in violation of the Trading with the Enemy Act (50 App. U.S.C. 1 et seq.).
(K) Merchandise subject to any other law enforced by the Customs Service.
(2) Limitation
No person acting under the authority of paragraph (1) shall read, or authorize any other person to read, any correspondence contained in mail sealed against inspection unless prior to so reading—
(A) a search warrant has been issued pursuant to rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; or
(B) the sender or addressee has given written authorization for such reading.
(d) Search of mail sealed against inspection weighing 16 ounces or less
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, subsection (a)(1) of this section shall not apply to mail weighing 16 ounces or less sealed against inspection under the postal laws and regulations of the United States.


[1]  See References in Text note below.

Source

(June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, § 583, as added Pub. L. 107–210, div. A, title III, § 344(a),Aug. 6, 2002, 116 Stat. 986; amended Pub. L. 108–429, title II, § 2004(a)(12),Dec. 3, 2004, 118 Stat. 2590.)
References in Text

The Customs laws of the United States, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), are classified generally to this title.
The Export Administration Act of 1979, referred to in subsecs. (a)(2)(D) and (c)(1)(G), is Pub. L. 96–72, Sept. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 503, as amended, which is classified principally to section 2401 et seq. of Title 50, Appendix, War and National Defense. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2401 of Title 50, Appendix, and Tables.
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act, referred to in subsecs. (a)(2)(F) and (c)(1)(I), is title II of Pub. L. 95–223, Dec. 28, 1977, 91 Stat. 1626, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 35 (§ 1701 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1701 of Title 50 and Tables.
Section 2332a (b) of title 18, referred to in subsec. (c)(1)(B), does not define the term “weapon of mass destruction”. However, that term is defined elsewhere in that section.
The Trading with the Enemy Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(1)(J), is act Oct. 6, 1917, ch. 106, 40 Stat. 411, as amended, which is classified to sections 1 to 6, 7 to 39 and 41 to 44 of Title 50, Appendix, War and National Defense. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(A), is set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.
Prior Provisions

A prior section 1583, acts June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, § 583,46 Stat. 748; Aug. 2, 1956, ch. 887, § 4(c),70 Stat. 948, related to delivery and certification of manifest, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–182, title VI, § 690(b)(9),Dec. 8, 1993, 107 Stat. 2223.
Amendments

2004—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 108–429realigned margins.
Effective Date

Pub. L. 107–210, div. A, title III, § 344(c),Aug. 6, 2002, 116 Stat. 987, provided that:
“(1) In general.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), this section [enacting this section and provisions set out as a note under this section] and the amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Aug. 6, 2002].
“(2) Certification with respect to foreign mail.—The provisions of section 583 of the Tariff Act of 1930 [this section] relating to foreign mail transiting the United States that is imported or exported by the United States Postal Service shall not take effect until the Secretary of State certifies to Congress, pursuant to subsection (b) [set out as a note below], that the application of such section 583 is consistent with international law and any international obligation of the United States.”
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.
Certification by Secretary

Pub. L. 107–210, div. A, title III, § 344(b),Aug. 6, 2002, 116 Stat. 987, provided that: “Not later than 3 months after the date of enactment of this section [Aug. 6, 2002], the Secretary of State shall determine whether the application of section 583 of the Tariff Act of 1930 [this section] to foreign mail transiting the United States that is imported or exported by the United States Postal Service is being handled in a manner consistent with international law and any international obligation of the United States. Section 583 of such Act shall not apply to such foreign mail unless the Secretary certifies to Congress that the application of such section 583 is consistent with international law and any international obligation of the United States.”

 

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