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Written testimony of CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske for a House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing on CBP’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

Release Date: 
April 2, 2014

2358-A Rayburn House Office Building

Introduction

Chairman Carter, Ranking Member Price, Members of the Subcommittee, it is an honor to appear before you today to discuss the work that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does in securing America’s borders. CBP, with 60,000 employees, is America’s frontline border security agency, responsible for protecting the United States and the American people from the entry of dangerous goods and people. CBP’s priority mission is keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States. CBP is also responsible for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel, while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations. This includes ensuring that all persons and cargo enter the United States legally and safely through official ports of entry (POEs), preventing the illegal entry of persons and contraband into the United States at and between POEs, promoting the safe and efficient flow of commerce into the United States, and enforcing trade and tariff laws and regulations.

CBP protects approximately 7,000 miles of land borders and 95,000 miles of coastal shoreline. Operating at 329 distinct POEs across the United States, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, CBP processed more than 362 million passengers in the land, sea, and air environments, welcoming a record 102 million air travelers. This demonstrates a 16 percent increase in the air environment since FY 2009 with estimates that CBP could process more than 110 million air passengers in FY 2015. Also in FY 2013, CBP also processed $2.38 trillion in trade and nearly 25 million cargo containers through our Nation’s POEs collecting $42.5 billion in revenue, a six-percent increase over the $39.4 billion in revenue collected in the previous year – illustrating the critical role of CBP not only with respect to border security, but with economic security and continued growth. Trade and travel are absolutely vital to our economy, and according to the U.S. Travel Association, one new American job is created for every 33 travelers arriving from overseas.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank this Committee for the consistent support and commitment you have shown to the mission and people of CBP. Today I will discuss how CBP is using the resources provided by Congress efficiently and effectively, and demonstrate how our FY 2015 Budget request supports CBP’s continued commitment to keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States, securing the border, and facilitating lawful international trade and travel.

Our FY 2015 operational and budget priorities are:

  • Strengthening and optimizing resources at our Nation’s ports of entry to secure and facilitate increasing volumes of travel and trade.
  • Maximizing efficiency and effectiveness of critical frontline capabilities to secure our borders between the ports of entry.

These priorities support continued efforts of CBP’s frontline personnel who work tirelessly to deter illicit trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, and money, while facilitating legitimate travel and trade. CBP achieves its mission using a combination of personnel, advanced information, risk assessment, technology, and partnerships with Federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and international law enforcement agencies as well as private industry.

Strengthening and Optimizing Resources at our Nation’s Ports of Entry

CBP officers (CBPOs) are critical in ensuring border security, preventing terrorism, strengthening international cooperation, and securing and facilitating the trade and travel that is vital to the Nation’s economy.

As of February 22, 2014, CBP maintained a workforce of 21,891 CBPOs. Thanks to your support, funding for 2,000 new CBPOs was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 20141 (henceforth referred to as the “FY 2014 Omnibus”). Those CBPOs will help to address our staffing needs as identified in CBP’s Workload Staffing Model (WSM), a tool used to assist CBP in determining staffing requirements based on operational demands. These additional officers will have a positive impact on operations, helping to both reduce the impact on wait times as travel volume continues to increase and enhance our screening of cargo.

The extent to which wait times affect the local and national economy was most recently studied by the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), a DHS Center of Excellence. CREATE issued “The Impact on the U.S. Economy of Changes in Wait Times at Ports of Entry”2 in February 2013. Their analysis found that an increase of decrease in staffing at the POEs has an impact on wait times and, therefore, on the U.S. economy. More specifically, adding 2,000 more CBPOs will help reduce wait times, expedite the flow of trade and tourism, and promote economic growth, leading to the creation of approximately 66,000 new jobs and increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States up to $4 billion.

I would also like to provide you with a status update on our hiring efforts. CBP’s Office of Human Resource Management (HRM) is planning to publish new CBPO Job Opportunity Announcements in late spring and summer 2014 to support hiring surge requirements. Additional vacancy announcements will be opened as necessary in 2015 to support remaining hiring requirements. A critical component in supporting this hiring initiative is the Office of Internal Affairs’ (IA) role in conducting polygraph examinations and background investigations within the required time frames. We estimate that IA will need to clear at least 4,300 applicants in total for FY 2014 and FY 2015 to meet CBP’s hiring requirements. CBP will meet this requirement and have sufficient candidates to place into academy classes, to onboard all 2,000 new CBPOs, as well as address attrition hiring goals by the end of FY 2015.

As travel volume continues to increase, however, we must constantly evaluate operational needs to ensure that we mitigate security risks while processing all travelers in a timely and efficient manner in order to facilitate legitimate trade and travel. In FY 2013, for example, the total passenger volume was 6.4 percent higher than in FY 2011, and commercial air passenger arrivals during the same period increased by 8 percent.3 CBP’s FY 2014 Resource Optimization at Ports of Entry Report to Congress includes the results of the Workload Staffing Model (WSM), which identifies a need for additional workforce capacity at our POEs, assuming current processes, procedures, technology, facilities, and use of overtime.

The President’s FY 2015 Budget Request therefore recognizes the need for CBP to maintain the highest levels of security and facilitation of trade and travel at our POEs. Further, the request will enable CBP to continue investing in technology and pursuing partnerships and programs that increase the efficiency of processing travelers at air, sea, and land ports of entry.

As part of CBP’s efforts to address the WSM results, the Budget seeks congressional approval for legislative proposals to increase current user fees to support the hiring of additional CBPOs. These additional positions, along with the workforce optimizing impacts of technology and partnerships, would fully support the WSM requirement.

Increase in User Fees for CBPO Staffing

Despite the efficiency gains that CBP will achieve by continuing to streamline its current business processes and the additional FY 2014 funding for 2,000 new CBPOs, CBP will still face staffing and infrastructure challenges in FY 2015 and beyond. User fees that support CBP travel operations have not been adjusted, in many cases, for more than a decade.4 The legislative changes to user fee collections, as proposed in the Budget Request, will further enable CBP to efficiently and effectively process the more than 360 million arriving travelers and 25 million cargo containers annually. The FY 2015 Budget proposes $331.775 million to hire up to an additional 2,000 CBPOs through proposed increases to certain user fees. These additional officers, along with the 2,000 new CBPOs funded through the FY 2014 Omnibus, would bring the total to a historic high of 25,775 officers.

Increasing the CBPO workforce by 2,000 officers could afford the following advantages:

  • Enabling volume growth
  • Lowering wait times
  • Maintaining wait times as volume grows
  • Increasing booth staffing
  • Increasing enforcement actions
  • Increasing economic activity, including GDP and employment.

CBP has proposed a $2.00 increase to the Immigration User Fee (IUF) and eliminating an exception for certain sea passengers who pay a reduced fee under current law. The IUF increase is projected to provide over $200 million in additional funding, supporting up to 1,205 of the 2,000 requested additional CBPOs. CBP also proposes increases to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) air and sea passenger user fees, and the Express Consignment Carrier Facilities (ECCF) user fees for providing services at express consignment carrier facilities. The COBRA and ECCF user fee increases are projected to provide over $130 million in additional funding, supporting the remaining 795 additional CBPOs requested. Because these fee amounts are set by statute, without increases, the gap between fee collections and the operations they support continues to grow, and the number of workforce hours that fee collections support decreases each year.

Reimbursable Agreements and Public-Private Partnerships

To further facilitate rising volumes of travel, and to meet the needs of our partners and stakeholders in the travel and trade industries, CBP is pursuing opportunities to partner with the private sector. Thanks to this Committee, CBP was granted authority in the FY 2014 Omnibus to conduct a pilot program under which CBP may enter into agreements with private sector and government entities for certain reimbursable services.5 This pilot program expanded the authority provided under Section 560 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 and allowed for five agreements, which CBP entered into with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, the City of El Paso, Miami-Dade County, the City of Houston / Houston Airport System, and the South Texas Assets Consortium. These partnerships have been largely successful so far, allowing stakeholders to decide what level of increased service they desire from CBP and when. For example, in the first 90 days of the program, DFW and the City of El Paso submitted almost daily requests for supplemental services due to the benefits of maintaining reasonable wait times while their travel volumes continue to rise.

A critical objective of CBP’s multi-layered strategy is to extend our zone of security to interdict threats as far from the homeland as possible, working closely with our international partners. We accomplish this security objective through targeting and using passenger information provided in advance of travel to focus on those of greatest security concern. We also leverage international relationships in multiple ways. CBP currently has Attachés and advisors in 22 different countries who are responsible for covering 47 countries. This enables CBP to build and maintain international relationships that enable the success of many strategic initiatives.

Preclearance operations support CBP’s extended border strategy by providing for the inspection of passengers and goods before they embark. Preclearance is a critical element of our overall effort to address security challenges facing the U.S. and its interests. These agreements allow CBP to scrutinize travelers and their goods on foreign soil before they gain access to U.S. bound flights, and if necessary, deny a passenger the ability to board an aircraft long before they reach our border.

More specifically, these operations allow CBP to staff officers at host airports and complete the necessary inspectional processes at that location. All security requirements are completed at the preclearance location prior to travel, including immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections. This process allows the aircraft to arrive at a domestic airport gate in the United States and travelers to proceed to their final destination without further CBP processing, a major efficiency for travelers. Currently, CBP operates 16 preclearance locations in six countries: Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria6 and Winnipeg), Ireland (Dublin and Shannon), The Bahamas (Freeport and Nassau), Aruba, Bermuda, and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi).

Technology Enhancements for Facilitating Travel and Trade

In line with CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy, leveraging advanced technology is another way in which CBP is working to address our workload staffing shortfalls. Technology solutions optimize workforce impact, enhance security operations, and facilitate legitimate international travel and trade. The President’s FY 2015 Budget Request supports technology enhancements such as new mobile hand-held screening equipment and funding to begin replacing large- and small-scale Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) systems. Both requests are critical to increasing the efficiency of CBP’s business processes and sustaining current levels of security.

To increase CBP’s capabilities in securing and facilitating cargo, CBP is requesting an increase of $11.7 million to begin replacing the fleet of aging NII equipment. The requested funds will be used to refurbish six large-scale systems, ten small-scale systems, and tool trucks to ensure the continued viability of the NII program and its critical role in securing and facilitating cargo. Additionally, the FY 2015 Budget Request includes an increase of $8.3 million for new hand-held screening devices. While CBP anticipates hand-held devices would result in operational improvements in all service areas, the use of mobile technology specifically in the cargo environment provides CBP the capability to automatically release holds at the point of inspection. This capability results in an estimated 5-minute reduction in inspection time, further supporting trade by releasing goods to enter the U.S. commerce stream faster.

CBP will also continue to make progress on the efforts to implement the Single Window for trade processing via development of the International Trade Data System and the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). The Single Window is critical to facilitating trade in a 21st century environment. The agency is consistently meeting its targets in terms of implementation and support from the private sector has never been stronger. We plan to continue to meet our commitments within the current funding level and through the use of carryover funds from prior years.


1 P.L. 113-76
2 “The Impact on the U.S. Economy of Changes in Wait Times at Ports of Entry,” National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), University of Southern California, released April 4, 2013.
3 Source: CBP’s Operation Management Reporting Tool.
4 The full set of COBRA fees were last increased in 2007. See 72 Fed. Reg. 3730 (using to the maximum extent the fee-increase authority provided in 19 U.S.C. 58c(j)(3)(B)(ii)). The routine IUF fee was last increased in 2001 by statute. See Pub. L. No. 107-77.
5 Section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, P.L. 113-76, authorizes CBP, in collaboration with the General Services Administration (GSA), to conduct a 5-year pilot program to enter into partnerships with private sector and government entities for certain reimbursable services and to accept certain donations.
Section 560 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, P.L. 113-6, authorized the Commissioner to enter into five reimbursable fee agreements by December 31, 2013, for CBP customs and immigration-related inspection services. In the air environment, this authority may not be used for costs other than the payment of overtime.
6 Victoria has a separate Port Director and fully dedicated personnel, and is considered the 9th Canadian Preclearance location.

 

Maximizing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Capabilities between the Ports

The border is more secure than ever before with historic levels of personnel, technology, and infrastructure. The Office of Border Patrol (OBP) is staffed at a higher level than at any time in its 89-year history: Border Patrol agent (BPA) staffing has almost doubled, from nearly 11,000 in 2004 to 21,370 agents today. Along the Southwest border, DHS has increased the number of law enforcement officers on the ground from approximately 9,100 BPAs in 2001 to almost 18,500 today. At our Northern border, the force of 500 agents that we sustained 10 years ago has grown to more than 2,100. Providing critical awareness in the air and marine domains, the Office of Air and Marine (OAM) has grown from 943 enforcement and support personnel in FY 2002 to a present force of approximately 1,700 throughout the United States and territories.

In addition to building our workforce, DHS has made unprecedented investments in border security infrastructure and technology. In addition to the 651 miles of fence that we now have along the Southwest border, technology assets such as integrated camera towers, mobile surveillance units, unattended ground sensors, and handheld agent portable thermal imaging systems act as force multipliers increasing agent awareness, efficiency, and capability to respond to potential threats. As we continue to deploy border surveillance technology, particularly along the Southwest border, these investments allow CBP the flexibility to shift more BPAs from detection duties to interdiction and resolution of illegal activities on our borders. Current funding supports CBP’s border security mission by increasing and enhancing border security technology including mobile assets, air and marine capabilities, and initiatives to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

CBP will continue to maintain frontline personnel as well as deploy resources and capabilities to align with threats along the border. The FY 2015 Budget Request supports the Border Patrol’s 2012 – 2016 National Strategic Plan, which represents a shift from a resource-dependent to a risk-based approach to border security that enables rapid response to areas of greatest risk in the immediate border area. This strategy enables CBP to remain agile and adaptable in responding to changing and emerging threats to America’s borders.

Surveillance and Sensor Technology

The FY 2015 Budget Request supports the continued deployment of proven, effective surveillance technology along the highest trafficked areas of the Southwest border. Investments in surveillance technology, in particular, have a workforce multiplier effect. Prior to recent investments in technology, many Border Patrol agents provided situational awareness through detection related duties. These methods are labor intensive, often very tedious, and typically encompassing only a small fraction of the terrain that needs to be covered. These activities also expose the agents to considerable dangers, risking their lives every time they are out in the field. With the deployment of fixed and mobile surveillance capabilities, agents gain situational awareness automatically at the Border Patrol stations. They can now target their response actions in a focused manner, direct a response team to the best interdiction location, and warn them of any additional danger otherwise unknown along the way. As a result, these investments have a two-fold impact: they increase visibility on the border and increase OBP’s operational capabilities and safety. These investments also lead to more accurate and timely information, which is critical to CBP’s risk-based operational strategy. By gaining greater situational awareness, CBP can determine activity levels in all border regions, monitor evolving threat patterns, and strategically deploy assets (agents and technology) based on threat.

Continuing CBP’s deployment of effective technology, the FY 2015 Budget Request identifies $89.450 million for new border surveillance technology within the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector in Texas. This funding will support the acquisition of Mobile Video Surveillance Systems (MVSS) and provide for the deployment of Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) upgrades to RGV. Proving MVSS and RVSS capabilities in RGV will yield multiple mission benefits for OBP. With the deployment of these technologies, OBP will gain more persistent surveillance coverage, greater situational awareness and will have the ability to effectively detect, identify, track, and interdict “Items of Interest” along the Southwest border.

Further increasing CBP’s ability to gain situational awareness, the FY 2015 Budget Request provides $11 million to establish a geospatial tracking system and to develop a national border geo-intelligence strategy. Of this amount, $6 million will support a geospatial tracking system for use across the southwest border that will more consistently record the location of all apprehensions, gotaways, and turnbacks. This system will enhance Border Patrol’s ability to identify traffic patterns, improve data collection on key performance measures, and inform daily decisions on deployments of personnel and equipment. It will allow operators, agents and commanders to maintain an active record of sign-cutting and tracking operations, and the monitoring of drag road status and sign detections, agent and suspect group status, track disposition, and results.

The remaining $5 million will support the development of the change detection capability for the national border geo-intelligence strategy, which will include an operational sustainable capability that includes internal analytical resources and tool suites. This also formalizes our cooperation with our Intelligence Community partners providing persistent surveillance, systematic analysis, and increased situational awareness along all our borders, and eventually in the littorals. The insights gained during initial analysis of the Southwest border have been recognized as a critical information resource that provides field commanders better situational awareness in areas without significant surveillance infrastructure.

CBP continually seeks new means to increase operational efficiencies. The Budget Request supports consolidation of facilities as well as an initiative to share fuel resources. DHS’s Chief Readiness Support Office is leading a cross-component Fuel Sharing Initiative to reduce costs and increase efficiency. This one-time investment of $10.7 million will be used for installation and maintenance of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, fleet card readers, gas pumps, tank gauges, and connectivity upgrades. The initiative will enable any DHS component vehicle to obtain fuel from any CBP-controlled fueling facility along or near the Southwest border, reducing reliance on commercial fueling stations, resulting in overall reduced fuel costs.

CBP also requested an increase of $8.9 million to provide necessary funding for the facilities operations and maintenance program for CBP’s real property portfolio. This will enable CBP to address a portion of its deferred maintenance backlog, focusing on identified deficiencies at OBP facilities in critical mission areas along the Northern and Southwestern borders. Additionally, resources will fund the consolidation of Border Patrol facilities in the Swanton Sector in Vermont.

Air and Marine Capabilities

CBP’s layered approach to border security relies on a variety of resources in the air and maritime domains: 268 aircraft (including fixed wing, rotary, and unmanned aircraft systems), and 293 patrol and interdiction vessels. These assets provide critical aerial and maritime surveillance, interdiction, and operational assistance to our ground personnel.

CBP’s FY 2015 Budget request includes $43.7 million to enhance OAM’s operations and capabilities through the procurement of two Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA). The MEA has a multi-mode radar for use over water and land, and for air-to-air situational awareness. It is the most capable, new, twin-engine aircraft that CBP has purchased and is a critical investment to support BPAs’ tactical ground movements and improve air-to-ground surveillance capabilities.

The Budget also requests $9.3 million to purchase and replace up to nine sensors for up to three tactical aircraft. To maintain air-to-ground surveillance capabilities, CBP needs to begin to replace and upgrade multiple types of sensors on some of its aircraft that are slated for continued service. Many existing sensors are obsolete and/or no longer supportable through traditional spare parts or maintenance sources. Newer, more capable sensors provide better detection and identification capabilities, greater stand-off ranges for more covert operation and safety, and laser range finder and illumination functionality, which enhance coordination between airborne and ground agents.

In support of OAM operations, CBP assumed ownership of the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) Program from the Department of Defense (DoD) in FY 2014. TARS are fixed-site, aerostat-based radar systems that provide air surveillance. They are designed to detect compliant and non-compliant low-altitude aircraft that are attempting to smuggle narcotics or other contraband into the United States. TARS have assisted CBP and its legacy agencies for more than 20 years with interdicting suspect aircraft – it is a multi-mission capability that supports the Counter-Narcotics, Air Surveillance, and U.S. Air Sovereignty missions. As a transfer from DoD, TARS funding of $35.6 million will provide continued operations and maintenance support in FY 2015 for the eight TARS sites. Additionally, $1.8 million for CBP salaries and expenses related to managing the program and operations is requested.

Building on Past Progress

Thanks to the strong support of this Committee, the deployment of resources over the past ten years has led to significant progress along the border.

Securing and Facilitating Record Levels of Trade and Travel

As a result of this Committee’s support of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy, the agency continues to bring advances in technology and automation at ports of entry. In FY 2013, CBP ?

  • Automated the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, increasing efficiencies and facilitating security and travel, while saving an estimated $19 million annually.
  • Supported the application of paperless and passenger-direct processing techniques, such as Automated Passport Control kiosks, to the international arrivals process to streamline the traveler inspection process, reduce wait times, and enhance security.
  • Pursued alternate funding strategies through public-private partnerships, such as Section 560 Reimbursable Fee Agreements.

In FY 2013, CBP conducted more than 24,000 seizures of goods that violated intellectual property rights, with a total retail value of $1.7 billion, representing a 38 percent increase in value from FY 2012.

Facilitating trade and travel in FY 2013, CBP has enrolled more than 1 million new travelers in the agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs with overall membership at more than 2.2 million people by the end of the last fiscal year, with more than 1 million members in Global Entry alone. CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs are designed to expedite screening for low-risk travelers through rigorous and recurrent background checks. In addition to providing benefits for members at ports of entry, members of CBP Trusted Traveler Programs are now eligible for the Transportation Security Administration's Pre-check program for domestic travel at more than 100 U.S. airports.

Furthermore, to support ever-increasing international trade, CBP opened six new Centers of Excellence and Expertise in FY 2013. Including the four opened in FY 2012, CBP’s 10 centers cover the full range of commodities. The industry-specific centers serve as single points of processing for participating importers. They increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and offer important information from CBP on key industry practices to facilitate legitimate trade.

The Beyond the Border Action Plan, signed by President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012, articulates a shared vision in which the U.S. and Canada work together to address threats at the earliest point possible while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods and services across our shared border. In FY 2013, we successfully completed Phase I of the Beyond the Border Cargo Pre-Inspection pilot and developed and publicly issued an Integrated Cargo Security Strategy, agreeing to test the strategy in three pilot locations. As of February 2014, CBP, in partnership with Public Safety Canada and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), officially launched Phase II of the Cargo Pre-Inspection pilot at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. Phase II will test the ability of the pre-inspection process to reduce wait times and streamline the flow of cross-border trade that is vital to both country’s economies.

As part of FY 2013 appropriation, CBP received funding for certain entry-exit policies and operations to complement its overall mission. In addition, partnering with the Canada Border Services Agency, CBP delivered a program where the United States and Canada exchange entry information on third country nationals who cross the shared land border, such that an entry into one country serves as an exit from the other. The two countries have exchanged more than 2 million exit records to date.

Enforcement Efforts At and Between Ports of Entry

In FY 2013, Border Patrol apprehension activity remained low, with apprehensions in California, Arizona, and New Mexico continuing a downward trend. Border Patrol apprehensions totaled 420,789 nationwide in FY 2013, 15 percent above FY 2012, but 42 percent below FY 2008 levels. While Border Patrol apprehensions of Mexicans in FY 2013 remained largely unchanged from FY 2012, apprehensions of individuals from countries other than Mexico, predominately individuals from Central America, increased by 55 percent. Significant border-wide investments in additional enforcement resources and enhanced operational tactics and strategies have enabled CBP to address the changing composition of attempted border crossers and maintain border security. CBPOs and agents seized more than 4.3 million pounds of narcotics across the country in FY 2013. In addition, the agency seized more than $106 million in unreported currency through targeted enforcement operations.

At ports of entry in FY 2013, CBPOs arrested 7,976 people wanted for serious crimes, including murder, rape, assault and robbery. Officers also stopped more than 133,000 inadmissible aliens from entering the U.S. through ports of entry. Inadmissibility grounds included immigration violations, as well as criminal and national security-related reasons. As a result of the efforts of CBP’s National Targeting Center and Immigration Advisory Program, 5,378 high-risk travelers, who would have been found inadmissible, were prevented from boarding flights destined for the United States; an increase of 28 percent from FY 2012. Additionally, CBP agriculture specialists conducted approximately 1.6 million interceptions of prohibited plant materials, meat, and animal byproducts at POEs, while also stopping more than 160,000 prohibited pests.

In FY 2013, in the air and marine environment, CBP continued to deploy proven, effective surveillance technology tailored to operational requirements along the highest trafficked areas of the Southwest border. CBP’s air assets, including the Unmanned Aircraft Systems and P-3 programs, flew more than 61,000 hours in enforcement missions combined in FY 2013. Air and Marine operations contributed more than 73,500 aircraft flight hours and 44,500 vessel underway hours, resulting in the arrest of nearly 3,000 individuals, the apprehension of more than 48,000 illegal migrants, and the seizure of over 3,100 weapons, nearly $24.7 million in currency, and more than 820,000 pounds of illegal drugs, including cocaine seizures valued at nearly $10 billion and marijuana seizures valued at $1.8 billion.

Conclusion

With the support of Congress, CBP has made significant progress in securing our Nation’s borders through a multi-layered approach using a variety of tools. CBP will continue to work with DHS and our federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and international partners, to strengthen border security. We must remain vigilant and focus on building our approach to position CBP’s greatest capabilities to combat the greatest risks that exist today, to be prepared for emerging threats, and to continue to build a sophisticated approach tailored to meet the challenges of securing a 21st century border.

I want to thank the Members of this Subcommittee for the strong support of CBP. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions.

Review Date: 
April 2, 2014
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