Once again, Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations employees have been called on to serve our nation at a time of need. At military bases overseas and at Dulles and Philadelphia airports, CBP employees are playing a key role in Operation Allies Refuge, a U.S. government effort to assist citizens, refugees and allied personnel evacuating Afghanistan.
Frontline CBP employees around the world and domestically, along with the Department of Defense and the State Department personnel, are processing and vetting travelers who fled Kabul after the Taliban took control. Many CBP Officers volunteered for the overseas work. Meanwhile, TDYs are being lined up to support processing on the domestic side but in the interim, Officers at Dulles and Philadelphia airports have stepped up, enduring up to 16 hour days to absorb the initial brunt of evacuee surge. At Dulles, Chapter 159 successfully challenged illegal schedule changes so employees can have some well-deserved rest as they continue to work on this critical operation in the coming weeks.
Chapter 159 (CBP Dulles) leaders, Chapter Vice President Joong Kim, left, and Chapter Steward Bryan Graham, right, talk with National President Tony Reardon at Dulles International Airport.
To get a first-hand look at the process and meet with Chapter 159 leaders and CBP management, National President Reardon went to Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia on Tuesday, one of the U.S. airports handling the evacuee flights. CBP has said other possible airports that may receive flights are O’Hare, Houston, and JFK. Over the past week and during his visit, Reardon stressed to CBP management the need for timely information sharing and an ongoing dialogue with NTEU National and affected chapters. CBP officials committed to improving communications across the board.
At the national level, NTEU coordinated a series of briefings that occurred throughout last weekend to provide the necessary updates. CBP is now coordinating with NTEU to provide weekly briefings for the remainder of the mission.
Meanwhile, CBP employees continue to handle a surge of migrants along the southern border and continue moving cargo and screening international travelers at all the ports of entry, as they have been throughout the pandemic.
Reardon thanked CBP employees for their professionalism and dedication, including those who volunteered for temporary assignments when their colleagues needed extra hands.
“Recent events, including the Afghanistan evacuation, Hurricane Ida, the Southwest Border surge and the pandemic, put into sharp focus the incredible work of all of our CBP employees who are on the frontlines every day keeping our country safe. These employees, who have been reporting to their ports of entry every day during the pandemic, cannot be recognized enough for their service to our nation,” Reardon said.