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The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 8, 2003

[ ... ]


Historically, travelers entering the United States make three stops - an Immigration inspector, a Customs inspector and an Agriculture inspector, if they are carrying food or plants - with three separate Homeland Security employees. Today, the Department's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is following through on a commitment to unify this system to process travelers more rapidly and conveniently while simultaneously identifying and addressing potential risks.

The "One Face at the Border" initiative unifies the inspection process by cross-training CBP inspectors to perform all three inspection functions.

  • Travelers will now meet a single primary inspection officer specially trained to determine who needs to go through secondary inspections -- another significant step for Homeland Security to create efficiencies and unity around a single mission.

  • The primary inspector will quickly process law-abiding travelers. The primary inspector will refer travelers whose information, demeanor or actions raise questions to secondary inspectors for additional questioning to:
    • Prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons and contraband from entering the U.S.
    • Deny entry to people seeking to enter the U.S. illegally
    • Protect U.S. agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases
    • Collect revenue

  • The secondary inspection consists of trained Counter-Terrorism Response (CTR) inspectors -- recently integrated passenger rover teams and analysis units designated to conduct follow-up examinations of questionable passengers who could have possible ties to terrorism. These secondary, or CTR inspectors, will be responsible for:
    • Coordinating with the local Passenger Analysis Unit and National Targeting Center to ensure that the referred travelers are researched fully.
    • Conducting a thorough interview and examination of referred travelers and documenting the results.
    • Detaining travelers who they find to be in violation of the law.

  • By utilizing one employee to perform all three primary inspection functions, the Department will be able to deploy additional employees into secondary inspection thus targeting our resources towards those passengers with suspicious indicators.

Unifying three dedicated but separate workforces into one U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, cross-trained to address all three inspection needs, is another significant step toward Homeland Security's effort to make the most effective use of the Department's assets and thus better secure our homeland.

[ ... ]


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