Funding means “cross-border commerce critical to our economy is not impeded,” trade groups, chambers of commerce and companies said in a letter.
A group of about 80 trade associations, chambers of commerce and companies urged House and Senate lawmakers in a letter this week to support the Trump administration’s request for supplemental appropriations to cover Customs and Border Protection’s operations for the remainder of fiscal year 2019.
The group said in the letter that the funding is needed to support CBP officer staffing, overtime and travel costs related to the continued redeployment of officers in support of the migrant crisis along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
“This funding will ensure that the cross-border commerce critical to our economy is not impeded,” the industry group said.
Signatories of the letter include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Industrial Transportation League, Airforwarders Association, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, American Association of Exporters and Importers, Transportation Intermediaries Association, National Retail Federation, American Trucking Associations, U.S. Council for International Business and the Express Association of America, among others.
The industry group noted that when CBP began redeploying officers to manage the increased number of Central American migrants arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico, freight processing at the Bridge of Americas in El Paso, Texas, for example, jumped from less than an hour to seven hours.
On top of the CBP officer redeployment, the industry group noted the agency already is operating at an overall deficit of 3,700 officers. CBP also has suspended some training programs for its officers in response to the recent resource constraints.
“Without additional funding, we are concerned that these examples will be the first in a series of increasingly serious disruptions to CBP’s critical customs and security work and to the movement of people and goods at our borders and POEs (ports of entry),” the industry groups said.