Diversion of Port Staffing, Threats of Border Closures Harmful for U.S. Businesses, Security, and Economic Health

Nogales, AZ— The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) is concerned about recent announcements to shift Customs and Border Protection officers from ports of entry in order to assist Border Patrol with the care, processing, and custody of migrants crossing the border.  Of further concern are statements threatening a complete closure of all ports of entry in response to migrant flows in areas between the ports of entry.  Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president, issued the following statement in response to these issues:

“We understand the challenge that Customs and Border Protection faces in balancing their resources during the recent increase in migrants entering between the ports of entry.  However, we are concerned that CBP has announced that at least 750 officers and up to 2,000 officers are being diverted from the front lines of our ports of entry, resulting in lane closures, delays, disruptions to trade flows, and increased shipping costs.  All of this will negatively impact the U.S. economy while leaving our ports of entry more vulnerable.

The FPAA has long been an advocate for increased staffing at the nation’s ports of entry and for increased technology to better safeguard ports while facilitating the flow of legitimate goods and people that cross the border.  CBP officers are on the front lines at our ports of entry, ensuring the safety of our nation while driving the health of our economy.  Reallocation of Customs officers away from our ports is not the solution to the current problem.

The FPAA also strongly opposes threats to close the border.  These statements create economy uncertainty, harm U.S. businesses, and are unhelpful in solving the problems of border security.  To even hint at a border closure creates a specter of such devastating economic harm to the U.S. that the idea should never be used as a threat, much less implemented.

We are confident that better ways forward can be found through collaboration with the agency and elected officials charged with representing their constituents.  We urge government officials to find the better solutions sooner rather than later in order to protect the U.S. economy and our border security.”

The FPAA has also been in contact with elected officials to raise concerns about the allocation of CBP port personnel away from the ports.  A full copy of the FPAA letter can be found with this notice.

About the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas:

The FPAA is a nonprofit trade association headquartered in Nogales, Arizona, that represents over 120 U.S. member companies involved in growing, packing, sales and transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico.  The FPAA leverages the efforts of private companies and partner-associations to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetable from Mexico.