Border Corruption

The FBI helps combat the threat posed by public corruption at our nation’s borders and ports of entry. Every day, more than a million people enter the U.S. through one of the more than 300 official ports of entry and through seaports and international airports. The federal government also protects approximately 7,000 miles along the U.S. border and 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline.

Common acts of border corruption involve drug trafficking and human smuggling. Throughout the U.S., the FBI has investigated corrupt government and law enforcement officials who accept bribes and gratuities in return for:

  • allowing drugs or people to pass through ports of entry or checkpoints;
  • overlooking or escorting loads of 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 people to enter the U.S. illegally, when they might actually be facilitating the entry of a group of terrorists.

The FBI often provides its expertise in joint investigations with its partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement. Many 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 work together to combat corrupt officials, both operationally and through intelligence and information sharing.

Federally, the FBI coordinates investigative efforts along the borders with:

  • 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

Corruption on the Border

The FBI—in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security—is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of border corruption.

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