U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Return Home

Congressman Henry Cuellar announced the return of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBPOs) last week , who were reassigned earlier this summer to assist U.S. Border Patrol with humanitarian efforts at our southern border, to their home ports of entry by Sunday. Since the reassignments in April, Congressman Cuellar and his colleagues continuously worked with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to develop realistic strategies to maintain CBP’s ability to process trade and travel, while addressing the surge in migrants at our southern border. The initial reassignment of 750 CBPOs, 300 of which were taken from the Laredo Field Office, impeded CBP’s ability to process legitimate trade and travel, increased wait times at Ports of Entry (POEs), and decreased U.S. economic competitiveness. Our ports of entry are key to the United States’ security and prosperity. 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. “The reallocation of officers caused significant delays at our ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, greatly impacting our country’s economic competitiveness and national security.” said Congressman Cuellar. “While our nation's economy depends on the movement of people and goods through the POEs, our nation's security demands that no individual or piece of cargo elements poses a threat. It is critical that CBP Officers return to our ports of entry to protect the American people and facilitate the proper exchange of legitimate trade and travel between the U.S. and Mexico border.” “We can longer rely on short term fixes for the record number of people arriving at the southern border.,” Congressman Cuellar added. “That’s why, as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I secured funding for CBP to hire an additional 1,200 CBPOs to process commerce efficiently and provide the highest level of security. CBP is currently hiring these new officers. I also secured $10 million in funding for CBP to create and hire 200 new entry level positions to ensure CBP has personnel to perform humanitarian related tasks such as transportation, processing and escorting migrants in CBP custody instead of utilizing CBPOs. I will continue to work with my colleagues to increase the number of CBPOs and non-enforcement positions in FY20. I am committed to supporting Customs and Border Patrol and funding them the necessary resources for our country’s national security and economic growth.” “I would like to thank Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, and Director, Field Operations for Laredo Field Office David Higgerson for working with me to develop and implement realistic strategies that enabled the return the CBP officers back to their home ports.”

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