Washington D.C. – Economic activity and security operations at the nation’s ports of entry would be enhanced under bipartisan legislation introduced today to hire hundreds more Customs and Border Protection Officers, said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union.
The Securing America’s Ports of Entry Act calls for 600 new CBP Officers to be added this year and every year until the agency’s dramatic staffing shortage is eliminated.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the proposal on Wednesday with the full endorsement of NTEU, which represents about 27,000 CBP personnel who work at 328 ports of entry in the U.S. plus preclearance facilities around the world.
“We commend Sen. Peters and Sen. Cornyn for recognizing that understaffed ports are a threat to our nation’s economic health and public safety, and then crafting a common-sense solution to the problem,” Reardon said. “If passed into law, this legislation would immediately improve the flow of legitimate trade and travel through our ports, increase the number of people and vehicles that are screened for illicit goods and make the workplace safer for thousands of federal law enforcement personnel.”
CBP has a current shortage of more than 3,700 CBP Officers. The agency estimates that adding 600 more each year would increase yearly economic activity by at least $1 billion and result in an additional 16,000 jobs per year in the U.S. economy.
According to the Joint Economic Committee, “every day 1.1 million people and $5.9 billion in goods legally enter and exit through the ports of entry.” The volume of commerce crossing our borders has more than tripled in the past 25 years.
NTEU has repeatedly urged Congress to authorize and appropriate funding to hire more CBP Officers, Agriculture Specialists and other professional staff; speed up the hiring process; and use all available programs to recruit and retain new personnel.
“We look forward to Congress moving swiftly to enact the Securing America’s Ports of Entry Act, and helping CBP improve its ability to interdict criminals, terrorists, drugs and human traffickers,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.