Congressman says cuts could lead to long wait times and lost economic opportunity for Western New York
Congressman Brian Higgins, NY-26, spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives detailing the stress sequestration would put on the nation's borders and the impact that would have on Western New Yorkers and the local economy. Higgins is a member of the House committees on homeland security and foreign affairs and serves on the US-Canada Inter-Parliamentary Group. His congressional district includes four international border crossings between the U.S. and Canada.
Below is the text of Congressman Higgins' remarks on the House Floor:
"Mr. Speaker, The effect of sequestration on our borders will be felt especially hard in my Western New York community, home to four crossings on the Northern border.
"According to the Department of Homeland Security, if sequestration occurs, Customs and Border Protection will be forced to eliminate 2,700 officers and 5,000 border patrol agents. In addition to the loss of jobs, this could mean delays of as long as four hours at border crossings.
"$1.5 billion in goods and 300,000 individuals cross the U.S.-Canada border each and every day. Western New York businesses and institutions depend on predictable access to and from Southern Ontario. Increased wait times will discourage Canadian consumers from visiting Western New York and that is business we can't afford to lose.
"I call on the House to take immediate action to repeal the sequester and to prevent this unnecessary injury to our economy."
In written testimony presented to the Senate by the homeland security secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano states, "Sequestration would roll back border security, increase wait times at our nation's land ports of entry and airports, affect aviation and maritime safety and security, leave critical infrastructure more vulnerable to attacks, hamper disaster response time and our surge force capabilities, and significantly delay cyber security infrastructure protections."
Higgins also took time to meet, in his Washington, D.C. office, with Western New Yorkers who work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to discuss the impact sequestration will have on them and the jobs they do, as well as other issues related to border security.