Press Release

Congressmen Cuellar, Vela, and Gonzalez Call for the Return of CBP Officers at Border Ports of Entry

Texas Lawmakers spoke to CBP Director Higgerson and trade community on the delays at the border

Washington| Olya Voytovich, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Leslie Martinez, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), April 18, 2019

Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Filemon Vela (TX-34), and Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) issued the following statements after speaking to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Director David Higgerson and representatives from the trade community on addressing delays at the Ports of Entry (POEs).

At a press conference held at the Juárez–Lincoln International Bridge in Laredo, Congressman Cuellar called for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan to reassess all appropriate personnel to border POEs. The Congressman’s remarks at the press conference can be found here.

“Two weeks ago, I expressed my concerns to Secretary McAleenan regarding the delays at border Ports of Entry,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Along with these concerns, I offered five realistic and sensible solutions that will maintain CBP’s ability to process trade and travel, while addressing the surge in migrants at our southern border. Shortly after our conversation, I spoke with CBP Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez who assured me and other border members that he would consider my proposal in addressing the staffing levels at essential POEs.”

He continued, “It is essential that CBP Officers at U.S. POEs remain at their assigned posts, facilitating the proper exchange of legitimate goods, services, and tourism moving between the U.S. and Mexico. I will continue to encourage senior officials in the Administration to address this issue quickly and bring these officers back to their normal roles. I would like thank Congressman Vela and Gonzalez, along with the office of Senator Cornyn, for participating in today’s meeting with the CBP Director and for working together to properly address the delays at the border.”

“Our Ports of Entry are the gateways to trade, tourism and travel,” said Congressman Vela. “They are a catalyst for economic development in the Rio Grande Valley and in the United States of America. I spoke with CBP today to ask for more officers at ports of entry in my district and additional staffing for the maximization of commercial truck inspections. Our communities need immediate relief from the extended wait times at border crossings.”

“It is inexcusable that the concerns, questions, and ideas of local officials, business owners, and citizens have fallen on deaf ears until now,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “They have made a good faith effort to adjust to the delays and traffic. Our local officials and business leaders have offered innovative solutions that merit serious consideration. I urge the Administration to continue on a consultative path and maintain an open line of communication between federal officials and the trade community for the good of our region and our country.”