Bill will require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional officers to fill shortages at ports of entry

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced a bill Tuesday to strengthen border security and target drug trafficking by requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional officers at ports of entry in order to fill a current staffing shortage of over 3,600. Ports of entry are where the majority of illegal drugs enter the United States.

“Customs and Border Protection Officers are our first line of defense against opioids or other illegal drugs entering the country and making their way to Missouri communities,” McCaskill said. “My bill will address current staffing shortages so that Customs and Border Protection has the officers it needs to keep Missourians and all Americans safe.”

McCaskill introduced The Border and Port Security Act today along with Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, and Kamala Harris of California. It will require Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire at least 500 additional CBP Officers per year until they have met their staffing needs based on internal CBP staffing analysis that takes into account traffic flows, threat assessments and other data. According to CBP’s current analysis, the agency needs approximately 3,600 more CBP Officers at ports of entry. CBP Officers play a critical role in stopping illegal smuggling at ports of entry, inspection points for people and shipments entering the country. McCaskill heard firsthand from law enforcement officers about the need for filling staffing shortages at ports of entry — which is what her bill will do — when she toured the U.S.-Mexico border last year.  

McCaskill’s bill comes amidst ongoing discussions with Congress and President Donald Trump about ways to enhance border security.