Cornyn Bill Provides Assistance to Texas Border Ports of Entry


In: All News   Posted 02/10/2015
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) today introduced a bill to provide emergency assistance to America’s land ports of entry.                                                                                  

The Emergency Port of Entry Personnel and Infrastructure Funding Act would help ports of entry along America’s borders deal with current funding shortages and increase staff and resources for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Senator Cornyn introduced a similar bill during the last session of Congress.

“Texas’ ports of entry need next-generation infrastructure and greater personnel levels to continue to handle the increasing demands of trade,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Helping our ports of entry with these big improvements will not only increase legitimate trade and travel, but also boost security.

“These critical investments will ensure that our Texas border communities are safer, and their local economies are more prosperous.”

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is the lead author of the bill in the House of Representatives.

“The flow of trade through our land ports of entry means millions of jobs in every state in the country,” Rep. O’Rourke said. “However, outdated infrastructure and inadequate staffing levels are causing long wait times and significant economic losses for our economy. Wait times at five of the busiest ports of entry along our southern border result in an economic loss of $166 million per minute.”

Background on the Emergency Port of Entry Personnel and Infrastructure Funding Act

 

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to make improvements at current land ports of entry and construct new ports on the northern and southern border.
  • Directs the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire, train, and assign 5,000 additional CBP officers and 350 support personnel at land border crossings over six years.
  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide all CBP officers with secure communications equipment to streamline communications.
  • Establishes a federal grant program to enable state and local law enforcement on the Southern border to purchase identification and detection equipment as well as mobile, hand-held 2 way communication devices. 
  • Authorizes $6 billion over six years to carry out staffing increases and infrastructure improvements, fully offset by spending reductions elsewhere in the federal budget.
  • Requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to evaluate and respond to alternative financing proposals for land border infrastructure improvements from interested public and private entities.   
  • Directs CBP to standardize wait time data collection and assess data collection automation.
  • Requires CBP to develop and adopt a standardized staff allocation model across land port of entry.
  • Adds new outcome-based performance measures that support trade facilitation goals to current performance measure criteria.