NTEU Calls for $160 Million to Increase Staffing at Nation’s Ports

Press Release February 27, 2020

Washington D.C. – Customs and Border Protection needs an additional $160 million in fiscal year 2021 to hire 1,110 new officers, specialists and technicians at the nation’s ports of entry, NTEU National President Tony Reardon told Congress today.

The president’s 2021 budget did not request funding to hire any new CBP personnel to work at the understaffed ports.

“CBP at the ports of entry is the largest component of CBP responsible for border security–including anti-terrorism, immigration, anti-smuggling, trade compliance, and agriculture protection--while simultaneously facilitating lawful trade and travel at U.S. ports of entry that are critical to our nation’s economy,” Reardon wrote.

Reardon’s testimony was submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which conducted a hearing today on the fiscal year 2021 budget request for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to CBP’s January staffing data and the agency’s workload staffing model, the agency is still short 2,231 CBP Officers. It also shows a shortage of 671 Agriculture Specialists.

The staffing shortage leads to excessive overtime, double shifts and delays in processing legitimate trade and travel at the ports.

The $160 million that NTEU supports would hire at least 600 new CBP Officers, 240 Agriculture Specialists, 200 Agriculture Technicians, 20 Agriculture Canine Teams and 50 Trade Enforcement Specialists and support personnel.

CBP estimates that the annual hiring of an additional 600 CBP Officers at the ports of entry would increase yearly economic activity by about $1 billion and could result in the creation of 16,600 private sector jobs per year, Reardon wrote.

According to the Joint Economic Committee, 1.1 million people and $5.9 billion in goods legally enter and exit through the ports of entry every day and border delays cost the U.S. economy upwards of $5 billion each year

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.