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Published on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

US airports beef up border control staffing



US Customs and Border Protection is adding an extra 2,000 customs agents at 44 ports of entry to improve security and ease often long waiting times for international arrivals.

The news has been welcomed by the North American chapter of the Airports Council International, which has long lobbied for extra manpower to combat critical staff shortages.

Seaports and air terminals to be strengthened include New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Buffalo, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Customs and Border Protection is a division of the Department of Homeland Security and the added staffing comes from the Resource Optimization Strategy, which is tasked with enhancing efficiencies at border points.

Airports Council International-North America CEO Kevin M. Burke said the staffing reinforcements are well overdue.

"With international traffic on the rise, an increase in CBP staffing along with continued focus on processing efficiencies could not have come at a more critical time for US airports," he said.

Airport advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance conducted analysis last year and found that customs waiting times reached up to three hours for arriving international passengers.

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