Washington D.C. – Customs and Border Protection needs $160 million in fiscal year 2022 to hire enough officers, inspectors and trade personnel to alleviate staffing shortages at the ports of entry, plus extra funding to replace user fee shortfalls caused by the pandemic, NTEU National President Tony Reardon told Congress Wednesday.
"NTEU greatly appreciates your efforts to continue building on CBP Office of Field Operations staffing advances made in recent years, and we urge you to provide FY 2022 funding to replace any user fee shortfall to maintain the current number of CBP employees and to hire needed additional CBP OFO employees to adequately staff the nation’s ports of entry as our economy rebounds from the pandemic," Reardon wrote in testimony submitted to the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee.
The $160 million would allow the agency to hire at least 800 CBP Officers, 240 CBP Agriculture Specialists, 200 CBP Agriculture Technicians, 20 Agriculture Canine Teams and 50 non-uniformed trade enforcement specialists and associated operational support personnel.
Based on CBP’s most recent workload staffing models, CBP needs to hire approximately 1,700 CBP Officers, 400 Agriculture Specialists and 200 non-uniformed Trade Specialists.
NTEU is also part of a broad coalition of stakeholders who support funding for the new hiring as well as funding to replace user fee shortfalls from the loss of trade and travel volume over the past year due to the pandemic.
“Providing CBP with at least 800 additional CBP officers as international passenger and cargo volumes rebound would reduce lengthy wait times at the ports-of-entry and facilitate new economic opportunities in communities throughout the United States,” according to the letters that were signed by NTEU, the Airports Council International – North America, the American Association of Port Authorities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other key organizations related to trade and travel.
CBP also plays an important role in facilitating international trade and are the second largest source of revenue collection for the U.S. government: $72 billion in 2019.
“For every dollar invested in CBP trade personnel, $87 is returned to the U.S. economy, either through lowering the costs of trade, ensuring a level playing field for domestic industry or protecting innovative intellectual property,” Reardon wrote.
Since CBP was established in March 2003, there has been no increase in non-uniformed CBP trade enforcement and compliance personnel.
NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and offices, including more than 29,000 CBP personnel stationed at 328 air, sea and land ports of entry and 16 preclearance stations around the world.