Higgins Tells Homeland Security: Don’t Pull Resources from Northern Border
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is objecting to the Administration’s plan to relocate Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers currently stationed in airports and on the border between the United States and Canada to serve along the southern border.
“While the challenges at the northern border are different than that at the southern border, they are no less significant,” said Higgins. “This Administration’s efforts to divert personnel from our border with Canada, and U.S. airports, expands our national security and economic challenges, rather than addressing them in a responsible way.”
DHS data notes the United States and Canada share 5,525 miles of border, the longest land boundary between two countries in the world. The Department reports, “Approximately 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the Northern Border daily through more than 120 POEs (Ports of Entry). DHS has committed significant personnel resources to securing the Northern Border, including over 3,600 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and 2,200 U.S. Border Patrol Agents.” Higgins has routinely supported resources for increased border staffing in the federal budget.
The full text of the letter sent by Higgins is below:
April 11, 2019
The Honorable Kevin McAleenan
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Acting Secretary McAleenan:
I am writing to express my dismay and utmost concern at the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to reposition CBP officers currently stationed for duty at Land Ports of Entry (LPOEs) at the Northern Border and airports to assist and support Border Patrol at the Southwest Border. This trend could have a demonstrably negative impact on the functioning of LPOEs at the Northern Border and the communities and economies served by them. As a Member of the House of Representatives representing a district bordering Canada that includes four LPOEs that accommodate significant daily and passenger and freight traffic, this move is a significant cause for concern.
This Administration has manufactured a crisis at the Southern Border for political gain, complicating our country’s immigration laws to the near breaking point. This is unacceptable enough, but to subject the northern border of this country to unreasonable border delay and further jeopardize its own security merely to augment this folly for political gain is disrespectful to the public servants who seek to protect our country on a daily basis. Rather than addressing border challenges in a responsible way, this move expands them.
Due to this proposed shift, the security and expediency of the current flow of traffic at the Northern Border is now expected to suffer on account of the Administration’s actions. According to DHS data, approximately 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the Northern Border daily through more than 120 POEs. This move will have a substantial impact on the functioning of Northern Border ports of entry, including processing and wait times for both people and goods crossing between Canada and the United States. As a representative of a border district, I believe it imperative that these channels of travel and commerce be maintained for the good of the economies and communities that are supported by them. I strongly encourage the Department of Homeland Security to abandon any efforts to reallocate Northern personnel to the southern border.
I look forward to a prompt response to this letter from you.
Member of Congress
Congressman Higgins is Co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and was recently nominated to head-up the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group. He currently serves as a member of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee including its subcommittee on Trade as well as the House Budget Committee. He previously served as a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees.
Higgins’ Western New York district, which encompasses the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the United States and Canada.