Florida Lawmakers Seek 500 Additional Customs and Border Protection Officers Across State
By Sunshine State News // April 26, 2018
Florida Delegation: CBP staffing has not kept pace with demand
(SUNSHINE STATE NEWS) – Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle representing Florida on Capitol Hill are calling for more Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to man airports and seaports across the Sunshine State.
Florida’s two U.S. senators–Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio–led the letter to U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the top Democrat on that subcommittee, asking for 500 more CBP officers across the state.
They also wrote U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, the chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and U.S. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat, on the matter.
Other members of the delegation who signed the letter include Republican U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Tom Rooney, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Dennis Ross and Democrats U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
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“The Joint Economic Committee has found that while the volume of commerce crossing our borders has more than tripled in the past 25 years, CBP staffing has not kept pace with demand,” the members of the Florida delegation wrote.
“Long wait times and delayed processing of goods discourage travel and create unnecessary barriers to trade, undermining economic activity in the United States. CBP estimates show that hiring an additional 500 CBP officers at ports of entry would increase annual economic activity by $1 billion and result in an additional 16,600 jobs per year.”
The members of the Florida delegation also stressed the role CBP staffers play in the war against drugs.
“As Congress looks at comprehensive approaches to combat the opioid epidemic in our country, it is critical that we provide CBP with the resources it needs to stop the flow of illicit narcotics,” they wrote.
“According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, a majority of illicit narcotics enter the United States at ports of entry. As traffickers become more sophisticated—and as proliferation and usage of harder-to-track drugs increases—shortages in CBP staffing at ports of entry only hampers our efforts.
“We share your commitment to ensuring that our nation’s borders remain safe, secure, and efficient for all users, while enhancing our global competitiveness through the facilitation of legitimate travel and trade,” they wrote in conclusion. “Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you on the FY 2019 appropriations process.”
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