- About Us
- Image Gallery
Published on : Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González joined airport executives from across the nation in Washington, D.C. last Thursday to make a unified case to federal officials for additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing at America’s busiest international airports. The airport leaders framed the issue of CBP staffing shortages in economic terms, highlighting the vital role airports play as direct facilitators of international tourism, trade and commerce and urging the federal government to strategically assign CBP officers to those airports with the greatest number of international passengers.
The delegation, which included airport executives from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Orlando and Tampa, held a productive meeting with federal leaders at the U.S. Capitol. Senator Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana and Senator Dan Coats (R) of Indiana, both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, hosted the hour-long session. Federal officials in attendance included CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, Assistant CBP Commissioner for Field Operations John Wagner, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Brian de Vallance.
All parties acknowledged the need for additional CBP officers to smooth the international arrivals process at key gateway airports including MIA, America’s second-busiest port of entry and Miami-Dade County’s leading economic engine. Earlier this month, President Obama announced his goal of drawing 100 million annual international visitors to the U.S. by 2021 as a means of spurring economic growth and job creation, further underscoring the importance of adequate CBP staffing. The meeting in the nation’s capital, which was organized by the American Association of Airport Executives, also produced consensus on the need to find innovative solutions to speed up the international arrivals process.
In addition to the meeting with airport executives, González met separately with senior staff members from the office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Senator Rubio has already voiced his support for CBP staffing levels that meet MIA’s rapid international passenger growth and he and his staff continue to promote the airport’s interests in the matter.
“I’m proud to have joined fellow airport leaders from across the nation in Washington, D.C. to make a unified case to our elected leaders and federal partners for additional CBP staffing,” said González. “Major international gateways like MIA don’t simply move people. They create jobs, support industries and underpin regional economies, so it’s vital that they have the federal staffing they need to operate to their full potential.”
Strong international passenger traffic growth at MIA is expected to continue this year with the confirmed addition of six new international passenger carriers in 2014 and major global events such as the World Cup in Brazil rapidly approaching.