Congressman Brian Higgins announced the northern border between Western New York and Southern Ontario will soon see U.S. Homeland Security staffing increases. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, responsible for securing the ports of entry, has announced plans to significantly increase personnel at the Port of Buffalo, which includes border crossings in the City of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Lewiston.
"Additional border staffing combined with plaza reconstruction to open up the bottleneck as vehicles approach the booths, and full implementation of the pre-inspection pilot project that pre-screens trucks on the Canadian side of the border will provide a coordinated approach to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion at our borders," Higgins said.
According to CBP, "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."
In a statement issued by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announcing 2,000 new officers nationwide, CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said, "Research has shown that, for every 33 additional CBP officers, the U.S. can potentially gain over ... 1,000 jobs. These measures are a significant down payment and a wise investment in our airports, seaports and land border crossings that will pay dividends for the nation's economy. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and our stakeholders to implement additional investments that will allow us to support growing volumes of trade and travel that are vital to our economic prosperity."
Last December, Reps. Higgins and Chris Collins wrote to the previous acting commissioner calling for additional staffing in Western New York.
Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and its subcommittees on counter terrorism and intelligence, and emergency preparedness, response and communications. He also serves as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Congressional Northern Border Caucus.