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NEWS Last modified on April 1, 2014

MIA to get more Customs and Border Protection staff

The US government has listened to Miami International Airport and agreed to allocate it extra Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

The gateway called for additional staff to keep pace with rising passenger numebrs and reduce "unacceptable" queue levels, and will receive a portion of 2,000 additional officers being available.

Local politicians supported the claim and MIA's aviation director, Emilio González, recently met with CBP and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials in Washington DC to urge for renforcements.

"The Miami-Dade Aviation Department welcomes the CBP announcement on the allocation of 2,000 additional officers to staff America’s ports of entry, including Miami International Airport," says González.

"Given MIA’s unique passenger makeup and unmatched 30% growth in international passengers over the past six years, we expect our airport to garner its fair share of those new officers when they enter service in approximately 18 months.

"Until that time, we remain committed to working closely with our federal partners to find creative solutions to our pressing CBP staffing needs here at America’s second-busiest port of entry.

"We are grateful to Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the South Florida congressional delegation and our U.S. senators for their ongoing support in this important matter.”

The airport claims that its attempts to compensate for the shortfall in CBP manpower has included investing more than $180 million in a new 400,000-square-foot state-of-the-art federal inspection services (FIS) facility in the North Terminal and installing 36 automated passport control (APC) self-serve kiosks at a cost of $3.5 million to increase the productivity of CBP.

It has increased MDAD staffing in the FIS at an annual cost of $524,000 to provide passenger assistance and crowd management.

And, according to MDAD, in a final attempt to mitigate the severe CBP staffing shortages, it is voluntarily participating in the CBP reimbursable fee agreement pilot programme and has allocated $6 million to reimburse CBP for overtime staffing above and beyond currently authorised levels.

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