Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit

Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit

The Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit is part of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) National Security Investigations Division. The unit prevents terrorists and other criminals from exploiting the nation's immigration system through fraud.

It investigates non-immigrant visa holders who violate their immigration status and places a high priority on scrutinizing the activities of known or suspected terrorists and terrorist associations. It also combats criminal exploitation of the student visa system.

The unit is composed of three sections:

  • National Security Threat Task Force,
  • SEVIS Exploitation Section and
  • Terrorist Tracking and Pursuit Group.

These sections work together and form an integrated national security force that draws upon government databases to gather and analyze leads on visitors to the United States. They also aim to identify potential security or criminal threats.

The unit also coordinates with the National Counterterrorism Center to conduct criminal investigations of national security fraud.


To prevent terrorists and other criminals from exploiting the nation's immigration system.

National Security Threat Task Force

The National Security Threat Task Force identifies, disrupts and prosecutes people listed in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). The TIDE is the U.S. government's central repository of information on international terrorist identities. It supports various terrorist screening systems and watch lists and the U.S. intelligence community's overall counterterrorism mission.

The task force identifies individuals for the TIDE and coordinates their litigation and removal proceedings on behalf of ICE. Identified violators are subject to the full judicial prosecutorial process.

SEVIS Exploitation Section

The SEVIS Exploitation Section analyzes and refers educational or school fraud criminal investigation leads to the respective ICE office for further investigation. This section implements and manages an Agent/SEVIS School Outreach Program that educates schools about possible Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) exploitation. This program also seeks to improve communication between designated school officials and HSI agents. It also provides subject matter expertise to partnering agencies when exploitation or fraud is suspected.

Terrorist Tracking and Pursuit Group

The Terrorist Tracking and Pursuit Group leverages ICE expertise across partnering agencies dedicated to promoting national security. The group leads the Targeted Enforcement Program , an initiative with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that tracks how long individuals identified as security risks stay in the United States. The program works jointly with the FBI’s Foreign Terrorist Threat Task Force, which also proactively identifies known or suspected terrorists. This group initiates high priority, non-immigrant overstay investigations, as dictated by the Compliance Enforcement Advisory Panel.

Contact Information

To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or report tips online.