U.S. Customs & Border Protection

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About the agency

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and is the country's primary border control organization. It is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration. CBP has a workforce of more than 45,600 federal agents and officers.

Records available

See Hold CBP Accountable. This site documents litigation taken across the country in an ongoing effort to establish accountability and transparency of one of the fastest growing agencies in the United States. The website also directs readers to additional resources for those seeking to monitor CBP’s disregard of constitutional and statutory rights.

In a helpful case, Families for Freedom v. U.S. Customs & Border Prot., 797 F. Supp. 2d 375 (S.D.N.Y. 2011), CBP tried to withhold in their entirety six Buffalo Sector Daily Reports that contain annual apprehension statistics for 2004 through 2009 for the six Border Patrol stations within the Buffalo Sector, and the comments pages from 548 Buffalo Sector Daily Reports that provide detailed information on arrests made by Border Patrol agents. This withholding prevented the plaintiffs from calculating the percentage of arrests attributable to transportation raids, which was their aim in requesting the information. The court held that CBP "must release the portions of the six Buffalo Sector Daily Reports that indicate the total number of all arrests made by the Rochester Station for each year, and the total number of transportation raid arrests within the Buffalo Sector. Such statistics are neither 'techniques or procedures' nor 'guidelines,' such that they could be properly exempt under 7(E)". Id. at 391. The judge's reasoning was based on the fact that the plaintiffs were not requesting arrest statistics for each station within the Buffalo sector, which could theoretically aid circumvention of the law by publicizing the relative activity or success of CBP agents at each station. Rather, plaintiffs sought information only about the Buffalo Sector as a whole -- information that would help in calculating percentages that are important to enable the public to understand the significance of transportation-based arrests. CBP was also ordered to re-assess their assertions of Exemption 7(E) over the comments pages of each of the 548 Buffalo Sector Daily Reports, and to disclose all responsive non-exempt materials that could be segregated from exempt materials. CBP was also required to release the names of the authors and recipients of the Reports, to the extent that they are agency heads or high-level subordinates.

Requester suggestions, tips and guidance

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  • The CBP FOIA Division no longer accepts email correspondence, as of February 2017. All digital FOIA requests must now be filed using the FOIA Online portal.

Appeals suggestions, tips and guidance

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