Congressman welcomes CBP leader with direct insight into WNY
Congressman Brian Higgins welcomed the appointment and confirmation of Gil Kerlikowske as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Kerlikowske, who is a U.S. Army veteran and most recently served as the adviser to the White House on national drug control policy, worked as police commissioner in the City of Buffalo from 1994-99.
In remarks on the House Floor, Higgins noted the commissioner's appointment comes at a critical time as the U.S. and Canada are engaged in the "Beyond the Border" initiative, which looks at "A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness." The congressman also pointed out ongoing initiatives involving CBP at both the Peace Bridge and Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Below is the text of Higgins' statement:
"I rise to welcome Gil Kerlikowske, who was recently confirmed as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
"I am pleased to welcome a commissioner who has an understanding of the unique needs of the northern border as he previously served as police commissioner for the City of Buffalo. His first-hand experience comes at a critical time as we work to advance the U.S./Canadian 'Beyond the Border' initiative.
"In Western New York, this cross-border relationship is especially critical to the local economy. I have worked with Customs and Border Protection in the past to advocate for increased border staffing levels along the border. At the Peace Bridge, there is also a pre-inspection pilot currently underway that hopes to ease congestion and shorten wait times. In the coming year, we hope to continue moving forward on plans to construct a new border station at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base.
"Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Commissioner Kerlikowske and look forward to working closely with him and his staff on important issues to the Buffalo-Niagara region and the entire nation."
Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and its subcommittees on counter terrorism & intelligence and emergency preparedness, response & communications. As a representative of the Western New York community adjacent to Southern Ontario, Higgins has placed particular focus on northern border issues. He also serves as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Congressional Northern Border Caucus.