Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was divided from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in 2003 pursuant to the Homeland Security Act effected of 2002. As the largest investigative agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE has four operational directorates;  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), and the fourth branch is Management and Administration (M&A) to support the above branches and advance their mission. The main mission of ICE is to protect the U.S from cross-border crimes and prevent the illegal movement of goods and people from getting into the U.S, as these actions may threaten public safety and national security or undermine the integrity of the immigration system. 

For instance, ICE will authorize the conduct of homeland security investigations or initiate the removal process for a person who submitted a fraudulent visa application or brought counterfeit merchandise into the U.S. During the removal process, the detention and deportation of the person who violated the immigration laws is managed by ICE. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: http://www.ice.gov/

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]