DHS, USCIS, ICE, CBP, EOIR, BIA, and DOS – Who are these people?


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a large government agency what was created to secure the nation from threats.  It’s primary goal is to keep America safe.  Its duties include administering immigration laws, preventing terrorism, securing US borders, and responding to natural disasters, among others.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is the department of DHS that grants immigration benefits and promotes citizenship.  Applications for family petitions, work permits, greencards, humanitarian benefits, naturalization, etc. are received and adjudicated by USCIS.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the department of DHS that investigates when federal laws have been broken.  They enforce laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.  They are known as the agency that executes deportations.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the department of DHS that is dedicated to keeping terrorists, illegal weapons, illegal drugs, and unauthorized immigrants out of the United States.  They track people and goods entering the country.  They are most visible at ports of entry including airports and international border checkpoints.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is the Immigration Court system.  This office is part of the Department of Justice.  It includes all immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.

The US Department of State (DOS) is in charge of diplomatic relations with other countries.  At their diplomatic posts all over the world, foreign service officers interview applicants for visas to the United States.  The Department of State issues visas to people to come to the United States to live, work, study, visit, or participate in special programs.

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