U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Supports ILEAs and SAFE Framework

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International drug trafficking, criminality, and terrorism are real threats that the entire world faces today. These are scourges that governments must deal with on a daily basis to ensure that their citizens are kept safe. As a world leader, the United States takes the lead in calling for cooperation to protect against these threats.

To make this a reality, President Clinton called for the establishment of International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) around the world. These ILEAs are set up not only for law enforcement purposes but for improving foreign policy as well. They do not only protect U.S. interests but support emerging democracies and promote social, political, and economic stability in their fight against transnational crime and increased international cooperation.

Currently, four more ILEAs are located in Europe (Budapest), Africa (Gaborone), Central and South America (San Salvador), and Asia (Bangkok).For law enforcers who wish to train at the “Advanced Management” level, an Academic ILEA in Roswell, New Mexico has been set up. There is also a Regional Training Center in Lima.

The CBP supports ILEAs by conducting customs and border security-related training components. They do so to enhance the ability of participating foreign agencies to develop and improve their own border enforcement operations. Depending on the needs of the region where the ILEAs are located, the CBP also offers specialized training. Aside from drug trafficking and terrorism, the participation of the CBP has also helped combat alien smuggling and financial crimes.

Another initiative that the CBP strongly supports is that of the SAFE Framework adopted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in 2005. The SAFE Framework refers to the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. Basically, this outlines the international standards for both customs administrations and the business community to improve supply chain security and facilitate legitimate international trade.

Within this Framework, the ability of law enforcement authorities to stem illicit trafficking of contraband is enhanced. The idea is to prevent the flow of these items within the international supply chain and of course, its entry to the United States. Through the harmonization of processes, use of electronic data standards and security requirements, the CBP will partner with customs administrations to identify, interdict, and inspect suspected high-risk shipments. These partnerships will also be beneficial to legitimate businesses as it will improve and streamline their international operations.

CBP provides capacity-building training to its partner customs administrations. To ensure that the SAFE Framework succeeds, the CBP gives in-depth initial assessments, sequenced training, and on-going mentoring. Periodic monitoring is also done to determine if the customs administrations have implemented practices following the SAFE Framework.