Monday U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced plans to add 2,000 new CBP officers. And with research showing that every 33 new CBP officers can yield 1,000 jobs, this isn’t news to scoff at. (You can out HSToday‘s report here, and some local news coverage here.)
The new officers are the result of a successful 2013-initiated pilot program that permits CBP to leverage public-private partnerships to enhance America’s border security and management practices. The Reimbursable Services Program started as a 5-year pilot in 2013, and was continued in 2014 CBP-related appropriations language. From www.CBP.gov:
Section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, is another key component of CBP’s alternative sources of funding solution. This authority allows us to support requests for expanded services as well as improvements to infrastructure through both reimbursable service agreements and donation acceptance authority, respectively. Reimbursable services under Section 559 include customs, immigration, and agricultural processing; salaries for additional staff; and overtime expenses at airports. The new donation acceptance authority provides even greater flexibility, allowing CBP and the General Services Administration (GSA), to accept donations of real or personal property or non-personal services to be used for construction, alterations, operation, or maintenance of a new or existing port of entry.
In short, this is an example of America finding new and creative ways to enhance border security and trade. From the CBP press release:
Among the cities that will see an increase in personnel at their local ports are New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Buffalo, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Laredo, Texas, Nogales, Arizona and New Orleans. Overall, 44 ports in 18 states will receive additional staffing that will reduce wait times, and help speed the lawful flow of goods and people into the nation.
And this news directly impacts on the Canada-U.S. border even more than the press release suggests, as highlighted by Congressman Kevin Cramer’s recent press release:
Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S.-Canadian border crossings in Pembina and Portal, North Dakota will receive additional U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) staffing. Cramer, who co-chairs the Northern Border Caucus, said Pembina and Portal are among 44 ports in the country identified as having the greatest demonstrated need for new officers.
The Houston International Airport also provides some additional information about the Reimbursable Services Program:
The reimbursable services proposals were reviewed and ranked based on criteria including: impact on current CBP operations, health and safety issues, community and economic benefits, and the feasibility of instituting the agreements in a timely manner. The deadline to complete the negotiations with the five applicants is December 31, 2013. These agreements will not replace existing services, and new services can include all customs and immigration inspection-related matters.
The reimbursable services authority is a key component of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy, and will allow CBP to provide new or expanded services at domestic ports of entry reimbursed by the partner entity. This will have a positive impact on the Nation’s economy – particularly through a reduction in wait times.