Our beloved Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the responsibility of screening passengers to "ensure that certain items and persons prohibited from flying don't board commercial airliners." This is accomplished through 43,00 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) located at 450 airports around the United States. For me, while I am waiting in line to be screened, there seems always to be one energetic TSO screaming at my fellow passengers to take our shoes off, remove most liquids, take our belts off, take out our laptops, etc.. it is hard to remember that the official Mission of the TSA is to "protect the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce." I do have one funny story to tell you about the TSA and a certain passenger.
Air and ocean carriers often unintentionally transport aliens into the United States who do not have a valid passport and/or an unexpired visa. Carriers receive a fine from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of $3,000 for every such alien illegally transported. Carriers can get an automatic reduction of 50% of the fine by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with U.S. Customs. Carriers must obtain and submit the new MOU to U.S. Customs on April 23, 2010.
With all of the complexities involved in the import process, even customs brokers can make mistakes such as by providing the wrong tariff classification of the imported item to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A customs broker who makes such a mistake may become the subject of an investigation by U.S. Customs which ultimately results in a $30,000 penalty against the broker.