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Combating Alien Smuggling: The Federal Response Can Be Improved

GAO-05-892T Published: Jul 12, 2005. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2005.
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Globally, alien smuggling generates billions of dollars in illicit revenues annually and poses a threat to the nation's security. Creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2003 has provided an opportunity to use financial investigative techniques to combat alien smugglers by targeting and seizing their monetary assets. For instance, the composition of DHS's largest investigative component--U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)--includes the legacy Customs Service, which has extensive experience with money laundering and other financial crimes. Another DHS component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has primary responsibility for interdictions between ports of entry. In summer 2003, ICE announced that it was developing a national strategy for combating alien smuggling. This testimony is based on GAO's May 2005 report on the implementation status of the strategy and investigative results in terms of convictions and seized assets.

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