There are long lines at the border. So cities and other organizations are stepping up to subsidize the inspection of arriving applicants for admission. In an never ending story, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is short handed at Ports-of-Entry (POE), lines at airports and land borders continue to back up and the endless complaints of not enough aliens coming to buy houses, visit Disneyland, and buy stuff. The usual suspects are the travel industry, realtors, ski resorts, and ethnic lobbies.
The fundamental problem is that CBP is and has been understaffed compared to numbers of arriving passengers and border-crossers, both American citizens and aliens. Long lines at airports and land borders are the usual situation. Also a problem is that infrastructure at airports and land borders has always been behind the curve.
SFGate July 10, 2013 by Lisa Rathke
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A ski area in northern Vermont and several other points around the country want more officers at border crossings and customs terminals, and they're willing to pay for it — not because they want to keep anybody out, but to get them in quicker.
The Jay Peak ski resort, the Miami airport and areas along the Mexico border in Texas are among those that want to keep trade and tourists flowing smoothly across the border. They hope they get picked as part of a pilot program that would allow for alternative, supplemental funding of border-crossing services, including private money.
The money could be used to cover salaries of additional staff, overtime and services such as inspections. Customs and Border Protection is reviewing submissions from more than a dozen places around the country and expects to choose five ports of entry this summer.
"On the one hand I don't think we should have to pay for this extra care, but I'm willing to do it because it just means so much to us," said Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak in Jay, Vt., just south of the Quebec line. "I cannot afford to have our guests unnecessarily delayed at the border."
Border security — and, in particular, the number of border guards to provide it — is a central issue in the immigration debate...
Jay Peak draws 55 percent of its guests from Canada. They have other choices for skiing in Quebec, but Jay Peak's mountain is higher, with a bigger vertical drop.
Michael De Wolfe, of Montreal, used to cross between Highwater, Quebec, and North Troy, Vt., but has switched to a crossing linking Frelighsburg, Quebec, and West Berkshire, Vt., which is usually faster.
He has a place to stay, so he tends to cross in the late afternoon or evening when it's not busy. But he said he has encountered waits of 30 minutes on Saturday mornings.
"Those who go to Jay on a regular basis know how to avoid long border waits," he said by email...
"We have a very good relationship with our border officials, but they have budgetary constraints that they can't control from here," Stenger said. "I'm willing to buck up and help pay for it to help them do the job that I know that they want to do but they just haven't had the resources to do it."
El Paso, where the wait at the border can range from 10 minutes to several hours, had tried to tackle the problem itself in 2011 by raising tolls on three international bridges during peak travel times and giving the $2.5 million in extra annual revenue to the Department of Homeland Security for more Customs and Border Protection staff, but the federal agency couldn't accept separate funding.
Miami International, which sees 9 million to 10 million international arrivals per year, has been discussing with Customs and Border Protection for more than two years the idea of more agents to get international flyers through faster, airport spokesman Greg Chin said.
"We are the fastest-growing U.S. airport for international travel now at MIA," he said, and staffing "has not been commensurate with that growth."
But here is the crux of the issue:
The border needs to be safe, but it also needs to be welcoming, Stenger said, "and welcoming means a reasonable time to pass."
And just what do they mean by "welcoming?" They will claim that it is in response surly CBP Officers (CBPO), the long lines, the minutia of the inspection process, and, more importantly, the laws against illegal immigration.
It is the last that we are concerned about. It is well known today that 40% or more of illegal aliens arrive, are inspected, are admitted, but then overstay their admission. That, of course, is of no concern to ski resort operators. They, like travel agents, have no concern what illegal aliens do, including fly airliners into building. They have only their own interest in mind, the calculate that they will not be one of the victims, but will profit from large numbers of aliens allowed to enter in the United States. No matter to if they work illegally, deal drugs, or go on welfare. Undoubtedly they even end up working service jobs at places like ski resorts.
And therein lies the rub. The tourism industry sees an in to CBP and using the continuing failure of previous administrations and Congress to fully fund, by user fees, the inspection of arriving passengers and border crossers. By funding an increase in inspection capacity and therefore processing more passengers and border crossers, gain influence over CBP and the inspection process.
Note that they see it as a temporary solution as well.
Stenger is willing to pay to have extra staffing at the border on the weekends and holidays, which he estimates would cost about $1,000 a day. But he doesn't want to do it long-term.
So, it is clear that some seeking express service for their customers have plans. They seek to neuter CBP, and after a short period of funding, demand from CBP what they paid for, the end of enforcement of immigration law at Ports-of-Entry. And that is the usual story, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
The real solution to wait times, long lines at airports and land borders, is the full funding of the inspection process by increasing the airline passenger fee and institute a fee for pedestrian and vehicle border crossers at land POEs, something, by the way, the same enthusiasts for the entry of aliens oppose. A border and the inspection of border crossers is an act of sovereignty, not merely bringing in more customers at what can be an incredible cost if it is not done correctly.