Coalition Letter Supporting Supplemental Funding for CBP 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 2:30pm

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

As stakeholders interested in the activities of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at land, sea, and air ports-of-entry (POEs) around the globe, we urge you to support the Administration’s request for supplemental appropriations to cover CBP operations for the remainder of this fiscal year.  This funding is needed to support CBP Officer (CBPO) staffing, overtime, and travel costs related to ongoing redeployment of CBPOs from POEs to address the national emergency situation along the southern border.  This funding will ensure that the cross-border commerce critical to our economy is not impeded. 

U.S. businesses rely on the safe and efficient movement of goods and people across our borders.  However, recent activities by CBP in responding to the situation at the southern border are having enormous impacts on this flow of goods and people.  In April, CBP reassigned 545 officers from U.S.-Mexico POEs to support U.S. Border Patrol operations at the southern border, severely tightening inspection capacity at the border and other POEs, and dramatically increasing wait times.  It took freight up to seven hours to cross at the Bridge of Americas in El Paso, Texas, in April 2019, whereas it took less than an hour to enter the U.S. at the same time last year.  Similarly, it took freight four hours to cross into the U.S. at Otay Mesa, California, in April 2019, as compared to nearly two hours in April 2018.  

In May, CBP increased the redeployment to 731 CBPOs, with 245 coming from U.S.-Mexico POEs and the remaining 486 from POEs along the northern border, as well as from airports and seaports throughout the U.S.  It is not clear when these redeployments will end, but it is already having an impact.  According to CBP’s own onboard data and workload staffing model the agency is already operating at a deficit of 3,700 officers.  So, every officer taken away from a POE is having a significant impact on processing goods and people.  For instance, U.S. international hub airports like Chicago-O’Hare, New York’s John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International routinely saw wait times for non-U.S. citizens to clear Customs and Immigration of two and three hours since the beginning of April.  We are also hearing reports that airports are experiencing increased delays and missed connections due to the redeployments. 

We are increasingly concerned about how CBP’s situation will impact the flow of goods and people at our POEs this summer.  Already, CBP has announced it is suspending mandatory training so that it can keep more CBPOs at POEs.  CBP is also planning to scale back services at its Global Entry enrollment centers in order to limit disruptions to airport customs processing.  We understand that CBP is also exploring steps to limit the disruption of people disembarking cruise ships at sea ports. 

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 and POEs.  We are also concerned that this situation may force DHS to draw upon the resources of other DHS agencies to support CBP if Congress does not provide additional funding.

The critical issues that American businesses are facing because of the situation at the southern border require quick, decisive action so that our government can provide for both border security and the flow of travel and trade.  As such, we ask that you provide the supplemental funding to help CBP respond effectively to the challenges it has to overcome now and in the immediate future.

 

Sincerely,

Airforwarders Association

Airlines for America

Airports Council International - North America

American Apparel & Footwear Association

American Association of Airport Executives

American Association of Exporters and Importers

American Association of Port Authorities

American Society of Travel Advisors

American Trucking Associations

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Arizona Manufacturers Council

Border Trade Alliance

Borderplex Alliance

Brawley Chamber of Commerce

California Chamber of Commerce

Cargo Airline Association

City of Douglas, Arizona

City of San Luis, Arizona

Del Rio Chamber of Commerce

Delta Air Lines

DHL

Douglas Industrial Development Authority

Douglas International Port Authority

Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation

El Paso Chamber of Commerce

Express Association of America

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

FedEx

Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce

Global Business Travel Association

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce

Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce

Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority

Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Hueneme Chamber of Commerce

Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce

International Air Transport Association

International Longshore and Warehouse Union

Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce

Laredo Chamber of Commerce

Lexington Institute

Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

McAllen Chamber of Commerce

Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

National Association of Waterfront Employers

National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America

National Industrial Transportation League

National Retail Federation

National Treasury Employees Union

New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry

Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce

North San Diego Business Chamber

Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce

Oxnard Chamber of Commerce

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce

Port of Baltimore, Maryland

Port of Long Beach, California

Port of Los Angeles, California

Port of Monroe, Michigan

Port of Oakland, California

Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ryder System, Inc.

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce 

Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce

Texas Association of Business

Texas International Produce Association

Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce

Transportation Intermediaries Association

Travel Goods Association

Truck Renting and Leasing Association

Tucson Metro Chamber 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

United States Council for International Business

U.S. Travel Association

UPS

West Gulf Maritime Association

Yuma County Chamber of Commerce