WASHINGTON – Arizona Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema wrote to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) raising concerns over the agency’s decision to remove officers from Arizona’s ports of entry. The two Senators called on CBP to reverse that decision in order to maintain the flow of trade, prevent illegal goods from entering the U.S., and help strengthen the morale of CBP’s workforce.
“We understand the challenges that CBP faces with the recent influx of migrants to our border, and we both look forward to working with you to improve border security,” the Senators wrote. “However, reducing port staffing harms security and our economy, and different options must be explored.”
CBP recently announced they will transfer Office of Field Operations officers away from Arizona’s ports of entry. Currently, more than 27 billion dollars in cross-border trade flow through Arizona’s ports of entry. With a decrease in officers, wait times at the ports will increase, which will have a significant negative impact on Arizona’s import of produce and other goods.
Additionally, Arizona’s ports play a critical role in preventing narcotics and other illegal goods from entering the country. Last year, approximately 86 percent of the hard narcotics seized by CBP were seized at ports. On the Southwest border, this figure was 82 percent. Staffing reductions will hurt the agency’s security mission and make Arizona’s families and communities less safe.