All in a Day’s Work - Fighting Smuggling, Narcotics, Financial and Cyber Crimes

Learn About Careers  in Immigration and Customs Enforcement

By Nadav Morag, Ph.D., University Dean of Security Studies

This post is part of a blog series in which University Dean of Security Studies Dr. Nadav Morag outlines areas within the field. From the government at federal, state and local levels, to the private sector, homeland security is a wide-ranging field, and Dr. Morag will explore its history and future in the weeks to come. This week, he explores Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that combines hands-on detective work with serious analytical skills.

CTU Homeland Security Degree - Career OpportunitiesU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serves as the nation’s primary investigative agency with respect to immigration and customs-related criminal activity. The agency was created in 2003 by combining the investigative arms of the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Today, it is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While Customs and Border Protection (CBP), focuses largely on the screening of individuals and cargo at international borders (land, ports and airports), ICE engages more in apprehending illegal aliens already in the country and investigating the illegal movement of people and goods to and within the United States. (This includes human smuggling, narcotics and weapons smuggling, financial crimes and cybercrimes.) In a sense, and somewhat simplistically, ICE is more akin to the FBI (which is also an investigative agency), only with a focus on immigration and customs issues, whereas CBP is more akin to the uniformed patrol personnel of a state or local law enforcement agency.

ICE employs more than 20,000 people in more than 400 field offices in the United States and overseas. Career positions in ICE include:

Deportation Officers: These personnel conduct investigations and surveillance to identify and arrest illegal aliens and ensure their deportation from the United States. They also assist in seizures of contraband.

Homeland Security Investigations Agents: These personnel conduct investigations involving national-security threats, terrorism, drug smuggling, human trafficking, illegal arms sales, financial and identity fraud and a number of other areas of criminal activity.

Immigration Enforcement Agents: These are uniformed personnel who perform enforcement functions relating to arrest, prosecution, detention and deportation of illegal aliens.

Intelligence Officers, Assistants, Specialists and Analysts: These ICE employees gather, analyze and disseminate intelligence information to ICE field offices and ICE investigative and enforcement personnel.

ICE also operates a Student Volunteer Program that provides unpaid internship opportunities for active students. To learn more about ICE positions, visit USAJOBS website

CTU Faculty - Nadav MoragNadav Morag, Ph.D., is the Dean for Security Studies at CTU. He brings more than 10 years of experience in the homeland security field, having formerly directed domestic and foreign policy at the Israeli National Security Council. He also works on projects for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. In addition to publishing in a number of academic journals, such as Homeland Security Affairs, Dr. Morag authored the first textbook to focus on international homeland security policies. Connect with Dr. Morag on Twitter.


Image Credit: picjumbo/Viktor Hanacek


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