CBP Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities

This memorandum outlines the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s priorities in the enforcement of the country’s immigration laws. In ensuring that the overarching goal of securing the borders of the United States while facilitating legitimate trade and travel, the CBP focuses on three particular issues:

  1. Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security
  2. Securing and Managing United States Borders, and
  3. Enforcing and Administering Immigration Laws

Enforcement Priorities

In enforcing and administering our immigration laws, aliens who pose national security or public safety threats are the highest priority. This includes, terrorists, suspected terrorists, those involved in espionage, those convicted of violent crimes, aggravated felons, smugglers, repeat offenders, criminal gang members, wanted persons, and those who threaten the safety of our agents and officers.

In addition, recent illegal entrants encountered at or near the border, as well as those attempting to be admitted to a port of entry through fraudulent means, remain an enforcement priority in our effort to secure the border and reinforce the practice of sanctioning those who would circumvent immigration controls.

Release of Aliens on Their Own Recognizance

Unless otherwise required, release of an alien on his or her own recognizance following the issuance of a “Notice to Appear” should only be used for those individuals that are believed to pose a low risk of absconding and do not present a threat to public safety or national security.

Discretion For Those With Immediate Family Members Who Are U.S. Citizens

Discretion, where appropriate and allowed by law, should be exercised when dealing with immigrants lawfully admitted for permanent residence, those with immediate family members who are U.S. citizens, those who are minors, and for certain humanitarian cases.

Implementation

CBP personnel shall follow the priorities and guidelines set forth in this memorandum immediately. CBP management and supervisory personnel shall also review and discuss these priorities and guidelines with officers and agents in the field through the normal chain of command.

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