Higgins & Stefanik Announce Push for Over 1,800 New Customs & Border Protection Staff
House of Representatives Northern Border Caucus Co-Chairs Congressmembers Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) & Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) released a letter sent to House appropriation leaders supporting the addition of 1,846 new positions within Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including 1,200 CBP officers.
CBP employs almost 45,000 law enforcement personnel across three divisions that cover U.S. ports, borders, air, maritime and overseas operations. The letter led by Higgins and Stefanik and signed by fellow Northern Border Caucus members Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-At-large), Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), Peter Welch (D-VT-At-large), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-8) and Daniel Kildee (D-MI-5), notes “current staffing levels fail to address the growing demands of travel and trade at our ports-of-entry.”
Last month members of the Northern Border Caucus released a bipartisan letter opposing U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to transfer CBP officers stationed along the Northern Border and U.S. airports to posts at the southern border, concerned that, “The decision to deploy northern border CBP officers to the southern border makes it increasingly more difficult for the agency to meet their core mission requirements at the border which include effectively securing U.S. points of entry and safeguarding and streamlining lawful trade and travel.”
In their new letter to Appropriators, Caucus Members say, “Enactment of the funding increase in the FY 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for additional CBP Office of Field Operation’s (OFO) personnel will alleviate the need for these transfers in the long term and limit the excessive overtime that results from being understaffed.”
The Appropriations Committee FY 2020 Homeland Security funding bill includes $151 million to fill 1,846 new CBP positions including $91 million specifically for the CBP officers. This represents a significant increase over the 267 new CBP positions proposed in the White House budget.
At 5,525 miles, the northern border represents the longest international land boundary in the world. Approximately 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the northern border daily through more than 120 ports of entry.