Miami International Airport (MIA) will receive additional staffing hours from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in their passport control facilities through a tentative agreement with CBP finalized on July 30. Miami-Dade County was one of only five government entities nationwide selected by CBP to participate in the pilot program, which allows MIA to reimburse CBP for staffing hours not currently provided due to federal sequestration budget reductions in effect since March 1. Funding for the reimbursements will be provided from MIA’s operating budget, which is supported by Miami-Dade Aviation Department revenue and fees.
“The inclusion of MIA in this pilot program is great news for the millions of travelers who visit our community from abroad or are returning home to South Florida,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Our local Congressional leaders were a huge help in this effort and I thank them for their advocacy.”
Mayor Gimenez and Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González, with the support of local members of Congress, submitted the request to participate in the CBP Reimbursable Services pilot program, which was authorized under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act passed by Congress in March. Since being appointed Aviation Director in March, Director González has met twice with CBP officials in Washington, D.C. to promote MIA’s inclusion in the program. MIA’s international passenger traffic has grown more than 15 percent since 2010, which is the most among all U.S. airports. MIA also has the highest number of secondary passport control referrals in the U.S., with more than 70 percent of its passengers being non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents during peak hours.
“I deeply appreciate Mayor Gimenez, the members of our South Florida Congressional delegation, and our CBP partners locally and in Washington for their support of this pilot program at MIA that will help provide some relief to our international passengers,” said Director González. “Our ability to fund overtime hours for CBP officers during peak times will help to decrease passenger wait times that have suffered since sequestration. We look forward to providing our passengers an improved experience when they enter the U.S. through MIA.”
For more information about CBP’s reimbursable fee agreement program, go to http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/national/08022013_8.xml
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