U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released a new letter Thursday urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to immediately release its overdue report on U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffing at northern ports of entry.
In June, Congress passed the Emergency Border Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act of 2019, which was signed into law at the beginning of July and includes a provision requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue a report to Congress by Aug. 1 on the number of CBP officers assigned to northern ports of entry that have since been transferred to southern ports of entry.
In a release, Schumer said he has "fought tooth and nail" to pass the provision, after the administration revealed it would be transferring up to 300 customs officers to the southern border, and following reports that numerous officers in Western New York had already been transferred.
Citing the importance of a fully staffed customs operation to cross border trade, tourism and security, with over $400 billion in gross domestic product generated in just the Buffalo-Niagara region every year—and commensurate impacts in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain crossings — Schumer is demanding that DHS make public its report without any more delay.
"Regrettably, the deadline for DHS to provide this report has come and gone," he wrote in the letter. "Failure to provide it complicates Congress’s ability to conduct oversight for and take action on behalf of our northern border communities. Any further delays would be unacceptable. Accordingly, I request that you direct the Department to take all necessary action to ensure that this report is provided to Congress and the public immediately."