Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has joined 30 stakeholders in a letter to both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to fund the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff request in President Obama’s FY 2017 budget. The letter also asks for legislative language directing that new CBP staff be stationed at U.S. seaports.
"Proper CBP funding and staffing is critical to cruise travel. The more than 11 million passengers who will cruise this year via U.S. seaports depend on an efficient and seamless customs process," said Bud Darr, CLIA’s senior vice president of technical and regulatory affairs. "Recently, we have seen instances where fees levied on cruise passengers are diverted for non-CBP purposes, leaving CBP without the necessary resources to fulfill its important mission at seaports, and we are looking to correct this inequity.”
Customs and Border Protection activities at U.S. seaports are often underfunded compared to other CBP expenditures. In FY 2015, seaports were assigned fewer than 10 agents when CBP was funded to hire 2,000 new staff.
The joint letter notes that each year, “over 11 million international passengers begin their cruises via U.S. seaports. CBP is on the front line when cargo and passengers enter our country.” The letter continues, “CBP is also responsible for screening all foreign visitors and returning American citizens and passenger ships that enter U.S. seaports. It is not unusual for customs operations to be short of inspectors. Many ports and terminals know that staffing levels are inadequate to meet the demand.”
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
About Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – One Industry, One Voice
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. The association has 15 offices globally with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment for the more than 23 million passengers who cruise annually and is dedicated to promote the cruise travel experience. Members are comprised of the world's most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services. The organization’s mission is to be the unified global organization that helps its members succeed by advocating, educating and promoting for the common interests of the cruise community. For more information, visit www.cruising.org or follow Cruise Lines International Association on CLIA Facebook and Twitter pages.