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Shortage of CBP officers hindering border trade

Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 19:55:39-05
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - There is so much concern about the problems around illegal border crossings that the benefits of legal border crossing sometimes falls into the background.
 
Legal border crossing brings Arizona billions of dollars in business, from fruits and vegetables, manufacturing and Mexican shoppers spending their money in Arizona stores.
 
However, a shortage of Customs Officers at the ports of entry is keeping cross-border trade from reaching its full potential.
 
A University of Arizona study says trade worth about 20 billion dollars crosses through Nogales Mariposa Port.
 
The Mariposa Port just expanded. Max capacity was 1600 trucks before.  Now it has the potential to handle four thousand.         
 
But Customs and Border Protection has had trouble hiring enough officers to staff the new lanes.
 
Tucson Mayor, Jonathan Rothschild feels a real stake it getting the port staffed up.
 
"If it operates at full capacity in Tucson we have the opportunity to have logistics centers, clean manufacturing centers and employment centers that can really drive our economy for many years to come."
 
That's why the Mayor sponsored a job fair to help Customs recruit.
 
CBP's Field operations chief for Arizona is looking for about 170 Customs officers.
 
William Brooks, Customs and Border Protection Field Operations says, "You have a state of the art facility there with lots of lanes.  We can minimize the wait time down to next to nothing.  If not nothing, through both facilities and that holds true for all over Arizona."
 
Congresswoman Martha Mc Sally got a law to help people leaving the military sign on with CBP.  Access to their military records should speed up the deep background checks Customs officers must pass.