WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has raised concerns over staffing shortages as ports of entry, where the majority of illegal drugs enter the U.S.
“Staffing shortages at our ports along the border are a threat to our national security and our public health,” McCaskill said in a press release Tuesday, “I’m committed to working with Custom and Border Protection to ensure that our ports have the staffing necessary to protect our borders and stop illegal drugs from entering the country and making their way to Missouri.”
According to an internal staffing analysis, CBP need approximately 3m600 more CBP officers at ports of entry. However, their 2018 budget does not include additional funding to hire that many officers.
“Despite the critical role that CBP Officers play in protecting our national security and stopping the flow of illicit drugs into this country, the Department of Homeland Security has failed to hire enough officers to staff the ports of entry adequately,” wrote McCaskill in a letter to the CBP acting commissioner.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee, of which McCaskill is the top-ranking Democrat, has legislative and oversight jurisdiction over border protection and enforcement.
McCaskill has previously joined Republican Committee Chairman Ron Johnson in requesting details about what CBP is doing to halt the smuggling of illegal opioids into the country.
McCaskill has also called for more border security funds at ports of entry in an effort to strengthen efforts to intercept illicit drugs. McCaskill’s bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program that targets drug and weapons-trafficking transnational criminal organizations on the border and at U.S. ports was approved by the committee earlier this year.