Florida lawmakers call for more customs officers


Florida State Capitol - MICHAEL RIVERA
  • Michael Rivera
  • Florida State Capitol
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and 13 U.S. House members from Florid a are requesting 500 more Customs and Border Protection officers next year in the state.

The request, which came Thursday in a letter to leaders of appropriations subcommittees on Homeland Security, is aimed at reducing staffing shortages at Florida airports and seaports, according to a release accompanying the letter.

“Long wait times and delayed processing of goods discourage travel and create unnecessary barriers to trade, undermining economic activity in the United States,” the letter said. “CBP (Customs and Border Protection) estimates show that hiring an additional 500 CBP officers at ports of entry would increase annual economic activity by $1 billion and result in an additional 16,600 jobs per year.”

The requested positions, separate from agents who patrol the Mexico and Canada borders, could also help combat the flow of opioids at ports, the letter said.

House members signing the letter were Republicans Carlos Curbelo, Tom Rooney, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Dennis Ross and Democrats Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.

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