Following advocacy by Congressman Henry Cuellar, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they have temporarily re-assigned 731 CBP officers from ports around the nation to assist U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) sectors where apprehensions of family units and unaccompanied children from Central America have overwhelmed USBP capabilities and facilities.
In April, 545 CBP officers from the southwest border (SWB), 300 from south Texas ports of entry, were initially moved to assist USBP with humanitarian efforts. CBP assured Cuellar that the CBP officers would be replaced by CBP officers from ports around the country and the SWB CBP officers would return to their home ports. To date, 165 of the 300 CBP officers who were re-assigned from the Laredo Field Office have returned to their home ports.
Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that they plan to temporarily re-assign 175 law enforcement officials and as many as 400 personnel from Security Operations to assist in the DHS response to the migration crisis at our southern border. Thankfully, none of TSA’s Transportation Security Officers from airport security checkpoints are not being re-assigned.
“America’s economic competitiveness is reliant upon our interconnected supply chains. Delays at the border have had a significant impact,” said Congressman Cuellar. “According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, nearly $1.7 billion in goods and services flow across the border every day. In 2018, trade between the United States and Mexico exceeded $611.5 billion. Since 86% of Mexican imports enter the U.S. by land (6.3 million trucks and 500,000 rail containers), the re-assignment of south Texas CBPOs has caused major disruption to the flow of commerce through our southern border ports of entry.
“We cannot continue to rely on short term fixes for the record number of people arriving at the southern border. I am pleased that many of the CBP officers are returning to their homes ports but deploying TSA personnel will cause security concerns and significant travel delays during the busy summer months. I will continue working with senior officials in the Administration and fellow Members of Congress to ensure our brave men and women of DHS have the ability to efficiently process trade and travel and provide the highest level of security at our airports. It is time for CBP to create and hire entry level CBP positions to perform those humanitarian related duties, such as transportation, processing and escorting migrants in CBP custody instead of utilizing personnel vital to trade and airport security.
“I would like to thank Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders, and Director, Field Operations for Laredo Field Office David Higgerson for working with me to return the CBP officers back to their home ports.”
Earlier this Spring, Congressman Cuellar called for Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to return the 300 re-assigned CBPOs back to their home ports and offered practical solutions that would mitigate the impact of reduced staffing at POEs due to the re-assignment of CBPOs.
Solutions to mitigate the impact of reduced staffing at POEs due to the re-assignment of CBPOs
1. Reassignment of CBPOs from the additional 19 Field Offices
2. Expand CBP Transportation Capacity
3. Overtime Limitations - Cap waivers
4. DHS Volunteers
5. Hire Annuitants