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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency of the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to effectively securing and administering the integrity of the U.S. boundaries and ports of entry. It was created in 2003, partly in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, bringing together several organizations and federal bureaus that previously acted independently. Increased surveillance of the nation’s borders to enhance security has been a primary goal of the CBP. This entry first reviews the history of U.S. borders, highlights an early attempt at securing the southern border, examines the various strategies that have been implemented since 9/11, and concludes with a look at CBP’s current mission and methods.

Defining Borders

U.S. borders have previously been under dispute ...

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