WASHINGTON – A powerful coalition of business and industry groups that rely on efficient operations at U.S. ports of entry have joined NTEU in calling on Congress to approve funding for 1,000 new Customs and Border Protection Officers in the supplemental funding package.
This supplemental funding would help the fight against fentanyl and other synthetic opioid trafficking at the ports by improving staffing levels at the 328 ports of entry.
“Our air, sea, and land ports are in desperate need of more CBP employees at the ports-of-entry to reduce wait times for international travelers and cargo shippers, improve the interdiction of illegal drugs and illicit goods, and handle the processing of migrants seeking asylum,” according to the coalition’s letter sent Dec. 5 to leaders on the House and Senate appropriation committees.
NTEU represents CBP personnel at the ports, including law enforcement officers, agriculture inspectors, trade enforcement personnel and other frontline workers. CBP employees at the ports are essential to both national security and international commerce. CBP collected $112 billion in duties, taxes and fees in fiscal year 2022, making them the second largest collectors of revenue in the federal government.
“Inadequate funding for these CBP employees shortchanges our economic growth and our national security,” the letter states.
NTEU National President Doreen Greenwald said the letter brings together business and labor in support of adequate port staffing levels, shorter wait times for travelers and shippers, and improved working conditions.
“Consecutive years of staffing shortages have taken a toll on the CBP workforce with higher workloads, excessive overtime and lengthy deployments away from home to work along the Southern border,” Greenwald said. “We support the Biden administration’s funding to increase staffing by 1,0000 CBP Officers, especially as it relates to drug interdiction, and to give CBP employees the support they deserve.”
The letter was signed by NTEU and major business, travel and trade organizations, such as Airports Council International-North America, the American Association of Port Authorities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association.
NTEU represents employees in 35 federal agencies and offices.