WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), member of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that Miami-Dade County would be one of five participants in a pilot program that would allow both Miami International Airport and PortMiami to enter the CBP Reimbursable Services Program. Congressman Diaz-Balart and several members of the South Florida delegation had urged Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to support the County’s request to participate in this program.
“I am pleased that Miami-Dade County was chosen as one of the participants in the CBP pilot program. Trade and tourism are two large industries that fuel South Florida’s economic engine, and the additional CBP staff will alleviate serious understaffing problems at both Miami International Airport and PortMiami. It is critical that South Florida’s ports of entry remain competitive as they continue to welcome the millions of business and international travelers that visit our cities and beaches, which help create and sustain the thousands of jobs in our community.
“Earlier this year, Secretary Napolitano saw first hand how adequate CBP staffing is vital for daily operations at the airport. My colleagues and I have been working together with the County to help ease the staffing issue, and although it doesn’t solve the entire problem, it is a significant step to addressing the ports’ needs. I am hopeful that this pilot program will not only reduce wait times for immigration and customs processing, but also help South Florida’s economy continue to prosper.”
This pilot program, the CBP Reimbursable Services Program, was authorized as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which passed Congress in March. Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Congressmen Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia (D-FL) sent a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in May supporting the County’s request to participate in this program. See the letter below: