WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and a congressman from the Buffalo area have teamed up to introduce a bill that would require minimum staffing levels for Customs and Border Protection officers along the northern border.
Stefanik, a Republican, and Democrat Brian Higgins have opposed temporarily reassigning CBP officers to the border with Mexico in the summer, which is the busiest season for border crossings between the U.S. and Canada.
“Maintaining strong staffing levels at the northern border will ensure our tourism industry and economy are not stifled and that CPB officers are able to effectively carry out their duties," Stefanik said in a release.
“Shortfalls in staffing make it more difficult for CBP officers to do their jobs," Higgins said, "impacting both the national and local economies that rely on the efficient flow of goods and people.”
The release says that reducing staffing levels in the north led to significant delays for people crossing the border, stifling tourism and other cross-border commerce.
Stefanik and Higgins say border crossings spike from around 6 million in January and February to around 11 million in July and August.
The 162 CBP officers currently at the southern border are expected to return later this month, just as the summer tourist season winds down.
Joing Stefanik and Higgins as cosponsors are Republican Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, and Democrats Peter Welch of Vermont, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan.