Border crisis may affect crossings to Canada
Transfer of 300 officers southward stirs concern
WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to transfer at least 300 officers next month from the nation’s airports and northern border to southern border outposts overwhelmed with incoming asylum-seekers, a prospective move that’s already raising concerns that it could leave U.SCanada border crossings short-staffed at the start of the heavy summer travel season.
Customs officials revealed their plans Thursday in a conference call with institutions that would be affected by the move.
Two sources familiar with the agency’s plans told The Buffalo News after the call that the agency said it plans to temporarily shift at least 300 officers southward in May to deal with the crush of newcomers entering the U.S. from Mexico.
The customs officials did not specify which border crossings or airports would lose personnel because of the move, the sources said.
But Rep. Brian Higgins, the head of the Peace Bridge Authority and the president of the union that represents Buffalo-area customs officers all expressed worries that the agency would send officers from Buffalo to the Rio Grande Valley region in Texas where most undocumented immigrants arrive.
Higgins said any transfer of customs agents from the Buffalo area to the southern border could lead to backups at the local bridges into Canada. That being the case, he wrote a letter Thursday to Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, to protest any move of personnel away
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