The federal government is responsible for protecting approximately 7,000 miles along the U.S. border and 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline, and every day, over a million people visit the U.S. and enter through one of the more than 300 official ports of entry into the U.S., as well as through seaports and international airports. The FBI recognizes the very real threat public corruption at our nation’s borders and all other ports of entry pose.
Common acts of border corruption involve drug trafficking and alien smuggling. Throughout the U.S., the FBI has investigated corrupt government and law enforcement officials who accept bribes and gratuities in return for allowing loads of drugs or aliens to pass through ports of entry or checkpoints; protecting and escorting loads of contraband; overlooking contraband; providing needed documents, such as immigration papers and driver’s licenses; leaking sensitive law enforcement information; and conducting unauthorized records checks.
Border corruption potentially impacts national security as well—corrupt officers might believe they are accepting a bribe simply in return for allowing a carload of illegal aliens to enter the U.S., when they might actually be facilitating the entry of a group of terrorists. Or a corrupt official who expedites immigration paperwork or helps obtain an identification document in return for a bribe or gratuity might actually be facilitating an operation of a terrorist cell, foreign counterintelligence network, or criminal enterprise.
Often times the Bureau brings its expertise to bear on joint investigations with its partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement. May of these investigations involve FBI border corruption task forces and working groups located in nearly two dozen cities along our borders. Members of these task forces and working groups stand shoulder to shoulder to combat corrupt officials, both operationally and through the sharing of intelligence and information, along with the use of trend analysis, lessons learned, and best practices.
Federally, the FBI coordinates investigative efforts along the borders with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General; Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs; Transportation Security Administration; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Office of Professional Responsibility.