Washington D.C. – More than 75 business, industry, union and law enforcement groups are calling for emergency supplemental funding for Customs and Border Protection to maintain officer redeployments to the southern border without further eroding port operations around the country.
The coalition includes the National Treasury Employees Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of other organizations representing those who work at the ports of entry or use them every day.
In a Monday letter, the coalition asks the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide supplemental funding for CBP for the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year, which will help the agency improve the flow of legitimate trade and travel during the busy summer months.
“This funding will ensure that the cross-border commerce critical to our economy is not impeded,” the letter states.
Legislation with supplemental funding for CBP is scheduled to be reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.
“This new alliance of organizations supporting emergency CBP funding is unusually diverse and powerful, which proves just how essential port operations are to the American economy,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “NTEU is especially grateful for the effort to replenish the overtime budget for CBP Officers and other personnel at the ports.”
CBP has deployed 731 CBP Officers to temporary duty assignments to the southern border, which has further depleted the staffing levels at their home ports. As stated in the coalition letter, the result has been increased wait times for passengers at airports and cargo shippers at land and sea ports. For example, it took freight up to seven hours to cross at the Bridge of Americas in El Paso in April, compared to one hour at the same time last year.
“Without additional funding, we are concerned that these examples will be the first in a series of increasingly serious disruptions to CBP’s critical customs and security work, and to the movement of people and goods at our borders at POEs,” the letter states.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments, including 27,000 at CBP.