What Do DHS, USCIS, CBP, and ICE Actually Do?

You’ve likely heard of USCIS or received some communication from them, but what is this agency and what does it do?

If you have any questions or concerns about immigration, or if you’re involved in any legal dispute over your immigration rights or status, you need to consult at once with an experienced Columbus immigration lawyer.

We have offices in Columbus and Dublin, Ohio, as well as Michigan and Texas. But our full suite of immigration law services is available to clients nationwide and well as all over the world. We can help you assess your current immigration situation and figure out the best path forward, including dealing with USCIS and all the other agencies, which can be intimidating.

Immigration Law Is Confusing

You’re not alone in thinking that immigration law is extremely confusing, because it is! Not only are three different agencies (USCIS, CBP, and ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for different aspects of U.S. immigration policy and enforcement, but the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Labor (DOL) are also involved as well as every branch of the federal government, and to some extent, every state and many local governments.

Without the guidance of a Columbus immigration attorney, dealing with the immigration system can be a very stressful and time-consuming process. There are numerous forms to be completed and filed, interviews, supporting documentation, and accurate legal advice that can be hard to just find on the internet.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes visa and green card applications and determines immigration benefits. Almost all applications and petitions requesting immigration benefits are submitted through USCIS. This agency also conducts the I-485 interviews, the last step in the application process for lawful permanent residence status (also known as green card).


Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilitates international travel and trade while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws, particularly immigration and drug laws. CBP personnel are stationed at U.S. ports of entry to determine if persons seeking admission should be permitted or denied entrance into the country.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the primary investigative and enforcement branch of the federal immigration bureaucracy. ICE conducts investigations into alleged immigration violations ranging from I-9 non-compliance to the trafficking of human beings and the smuggling of weapons and drugs. ICE also initiates removal proceedings and manages detention facilities holding immigrants for trial or removal.


Managing immigration is only a small part of the work of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was created to safeguard the country from threats including but not limited to terrorism. Since March 2003, the old Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) no longer exists; that agency’s responsibilities have been transferred to DHS.

How Shihab Burke, LLC, Attorneys At Law Can Help

An experienced immigration attorney can help you with any immigration-related conflict or dispute with any of these agencies. A good immigration lawyer can also help you with applications, petitions, and hearings. Should you face any immigration-related criminal charge, or should you be threatened with removal, you’ll need legal representation from a skilled Columbus immigration attorney.

If you’re in Ohio, Texas, or Michigan, or anywhere in the U.S., contact us today for trustworthy immigration law help.

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