United States Customs Service

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United States Customs Service
Seal of the U.S. Customs Service.svg
Agency overview
FormedJuly 31, 1789;233 years ago (1789-07-31) (1  Stat.   29)
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
Parent agency United States Department of the Treasury
Website U.S. Customs Service at the Wayback Machine (archived March 2, 2000)

The United States Customs Service was an agency of the U.S. federal government that collected import tariffs and performed other selected border security duties.

Contents

In March 2003, as a result of the homeland security reorganization, the U.S. Customs Service was renamed the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, [1] and most of its components were merged with the border elements of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, including the entire U.S. Border Patrol and former INS inspectors, together with border agriculture inspectors, to form U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a single, unified border agency for the U.S. The investigative office of U.S. Customs was split off and merged with the INS investigative office and the INS interior detention and removal office to form Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which, among other things, is responsible for interior immigration enforcement. The United States Customs Service had three major missions: collecting tariff revenue, protecting the U.S. economy from smuggling and illegal goods, and processing people and goods at ports of entry.

History

Responding to the urgent need for revenue following the American Revolutionary War, the First United States Congress passed and President George Washington signed the Tariff Act of July 4, 1789, which authorized the collection of duties on imported goods. Four weeks later, on July 31, the fifth act of Congress established the United States Customs Service and its ports of entry.

As part of this new government agency, a new role was created for government officials which was known as "Customs Collector". In this role, one person would have responsibility to supervise the collection of custom duties in a particular city or region, such as the Collector of the Port of New York.

For over 100 years after it was founded, the U.S. Customs Service was the primary source of funds for the entire government, paying for the country's early growth and infrastructure. Purchases include the Louisiana and Oregon territories; Florida and Alaska; funding the National Road and the Transcontinental Railroad; building many of the nation's lighthouses; the U.S. Military and Naval academies, and Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Customs Service employed a number of federal law enforcement officers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Customs Special Agents investigated smuggling and other violations of customs, narcotics and revenue laws. Customs Inspectors were uniformed officers at airports, seaports and land border ports of entry who inspected people and vehicles entering the U.S. for contraband and dutiable merchandise. Customs Patrol Officers conducted uniformed and plainclothes patrol of the borders on land, sea and air to deter smuggling and apprehend smugglers.

In the 20th century, as international trade and travel increased dramatically, the Customs Service transitioned from an administrative bureau to a federal law enforcement agency. Inspectors still inspected goods and took customs declarations from travelers at ports of entry, but Customs Special Agents used modern police methods—often in concert with allied agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and U.S. Border Patrol—to investigate cases often far from international airports, bridges and land crossings. The original World Trade Center complex, particularly Building 6, housed offices of the U.S. Customs Service. [2] [ circular reference ]

With the passage of the Homeland Security Act, the U.S. Customs Service passed from under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department to under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security.

On March 1, 2003, parts of the U.S. Customs Service combined with the Inspections Program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine of the USDA and the Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to form U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Federal Protective Service, along with the investigative arms of the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, combined to form U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Examples of illegal items

[ clarification needed ]

Flag

Flag of the United States Customs Service, now the CBP Ensign. Flag of the United States Customs Service.svg
Flag of the United States Customs Service, now the CBP Ensign.

The flag of the Customs Service was designed in 1799 by Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott Jr. and consists of 16 vertical red and white stripes with a coat of arms depicted in blue on the white canton. The original design had the Customs Service seal that was an eagle with three arrows in his left talon, an olive branch in his right and surrounded by an arc of 13 stars. In 1951, this was changed to the eagle depicted on the Great Seal of the United States.

Its actual name is the Revenue Ensign, as it was flown by ships of the Revenue Cutter Service, later the Coast Guard, and at customs houses.

In 1910, President William Howard Taft issued an order to add an emblem to the flag flown by ships from the one flown on land at customs houses. The version with the badge continues to be flown by Coast Guard vessels. Until 2003, the land version was flown at all United States ports of entry. [3] The renamed CBP Ensign is currently flown at CBP's headquarters in Washington, D.C., at its Field Offices, overseas duty locations including preclearance ports, and at all land, air, and sea ports of entry.

Commissioners

Beginning in 1927, the Customs Service was headed by an appointed commissioner. Prior to 1927, customs collection was overseen by the director of the Treasury Department's customs division. Commissioners of Customs included:

CommissionerTermAdministration
Ernest W. Camp 1927–1929Coolidge
Francis Xavier A. Eble 1929–1933Hoover
James Moyle 1933–1939Roosevelt
Basil Harris 1939–1940Roosevelt
William Roy Johnson 1940–1947Roosevelt, Truman
Frank Dow (acting)1947–1949Truman
Frank Dow 1949–1953Truman
Ralph Kelly 1954–1961Eisenhower
Philip Nichols Jr. 1961–1964Kennedy, Johnson
Lester D. Johnson 1965–1969Johnson
Myles Ambrose 1969–1972Nixon
Vernon D. Acree 1972–1977Nixon, Ford
Robert E. Chasen 1977 – December 1980Carter
William T. Archey (acting)December 1980 – October 1981Reagan
William von Raab October 1981 – July 31, 1989Reagan, G.H.W.Bush
Michael H. Lane (acting)August 1, 1989 – November 2, 1989G.H.W.Bush
Carol Boyd Hallett November 3, 1989 – January 18, 1993G.H.W.Bush
Michael H. Lane (acting)January 19, 1993 – May 12, 1993G.H.W.Bush, Clinton
George J. Weise May 13, 1993 – April 18, 1997Clinton
Samuel H. Banks (acting)April 19, 1997 – July 30, 1998Clinton
Raymond Kelly July 31, 1998 – January 19, 2001Clinton
Charles W. Winwood (acting)January 20, 2001 – September 9, 2001G.W.Bush
Robert C. Bonner September 10, 2001 – March 1, 2003 [4] G.W.Bush

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Customs</span> Government agency which regulates the flow of goods and collects duties

Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting tariffs and for controlling the flow of goods, including animals, transports, personal effects, and hazardous items, into and out of a country. Traditionally, customs has been considered as the fiscal subject that charges customs duties and other taxes on import and export. In recent decades, the views on the functions of customs have considerably expanded and now covers three basic issues: taxation, security, and trade facilitation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Immigration and Naturalization Service</span> Former immigration service of the United States

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor from 1933 to 1940 and the U.S. Department of Justice from 1940 to 2003.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE's stated mission is to protect the United States from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.

Office of Biometric Identity Management

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Border Patrol</span> U.S. federal law enforcement agency

The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States' Customs and Border Protection and is responsible for securing the borders of the United States. According to its web site in 2022, its mission is to "Protect the American people, safeguard our borders, and enhance the nation’s economic prosperity."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canada Border Services Agency</span> Canadian agency in charge of border security

The Canada Border Services Agency is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border control, immigration enforcement, and customs services in Canada.

A customs officer is a law enforcement agent who enforces customs laws, on behalf of a government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">U.S. Customs and Border Protection</span> Department of the United States Federal Government

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and is the country's primary border control organization. It is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration. CBP is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. It has a workforce of more than 45,600 federal agents and officers. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Border guard</span> Government service concerned with security of national borders

A border guard of a country is a national security agency that performs border security. Some of the national border guard agencies also perform coast guard and rescue service duties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">CBP Air and Marine Operations</span>

Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is a federal law enforcement component within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). AMO's mission is to protect the American people and nation's critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of air and marine assets to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs, and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States. Air and Marine Operations Agents and Officers are endowed with the authority to enforce Title 8 and Title 19 (Customs) of the United States Code in addition to the general law enforcement powers bestowed upon federal law enforcement agents.

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SENTRI

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The Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program is a component of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ). The mission of the Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program is to detect and prevent the unlawful entry and distribution of prohibited and/or non-compliant products that may harbor exotic plant and animal pests, diseases or invasive species.

The federal government of the United States empowers a wide range of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and public order related to matters affecting the country as a whole.

The United States imposes tariffs on imports of goods. The duty is levied at the time of import and is paid by the importer of record. Customs duties vary by country of origin and product. Goods from many countries are exempt from duty under various trade agreements. Certain types of goods are exempt from duty regardless of source. Customs rules differ from other import restrictions. Failure to properly comply with customs rules can result in seizure of goods and criminal penalties against involved parties. The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces customs rules.

United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act

The United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act is a bill that would authorize the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its mission and direct the CBP in the United States Department of Homeland Security to establish standard procedures for addressing complaints made against CBP employees and to enhance training for CBP officers and agents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bureau of Customs</span> Agency of the Philippine government

The Bureau of Customs is a Philippine government agency under the Department of Finance. The Bureau of Customs was established on February 6, 1902 by the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands of the United States of America, during the American Colonial Era of the Philippines.

A customs declaration is a form that lists the details of goods that are being imported or exported when a citizen or visitor enters a customs territory. Most countries require travellers to complete a customs declaration form when bringing notified goods across international borders. Posting items via international mail also requires the sending party to complete a customs declaration form.

References

  1. "6 USC 542 Reorganization Plan". Government Publishing Office. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  2. Six World Trade Center
  3. "U.S. Coast Guard Flags". United States Coast Guard. October 21, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  4. When the U.S. Customs Service was merged into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 1, 2003, Robert C. Bonner became commissioner of the newly formed service and continued in that role until 2006.