Homeland bureau consolidates immigration and customs operations
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Friday unveiled a plan to combine enforcement functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, Customs Service and Federal Protective Service.
The bureau announced a reorganization plan-slated to be implemented by June 9-that will establish five divisions at ICE headquarters in Washington: investigations; intelligence; detention and removal; air and marine interdiction; and federal protective services. The divisions will integrate previously separate INS and Customs investigations and intelligence operations. The air and marine interdiction division will come from the Customs Service. The detention and removal division will be composed of former INS staff, and the Federal Protective Service division, which is charged with protecting federal buildings, was formerly part of the General Services Administration. The yet-to-be-named division heads will report to ICE Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Garcia.
An ICE spokesman said the changes are just one phase in the creation of the new bureau. "We have a long road ahead of us," he said. He said he did not know when the bureau would be fully reorganized.
The combination of the INS and Customs enforcement units will "eliminate redundancies and management layers," as well as "enhance operations [and] promote strategic agility," ICE officials said in a statement. The reorganization will not increase management costs, the statement said.
Outside of Washington, the plan calls for the creation of 25 special-agent-in-charge positions. Each of the agents will be responsible for overseeing ICE investigations in separate regions of the United States. The agency said that the names of the 25 agents would be announced next week.
The changes outside of Washington will "foster greater accountability through the creation of clear chains of command…[and will] balance staffing and workload," the statement said.