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FIT Announcement

03/15/2013 11:14 am

Dear Valued customer,

The following information comes direct from CBP and will explain what to expect during the sequestration for your perishable imports.

What is sequestration?

Sequestration is a fiscal policy procedure adopted by Congress as part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. The procedure, designed to force Congress to come to an agreement to address the Federal budget deficit, represents a series of automatic government spending cuts, totaling about $1 trillion over the next decade. These spending cuts, which began March 1, 2013, are divided equally between defense and non-defense spending. Government departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), do not have input on how these cuts go into effect since they are required by law to be implemented across the board. Sequestration will end when Congress passes legislation that undoes the legal requirements in the BCA.

How will sequestration affect CBP Field Operations?

Under the automatic sequestration cuts, we anticipate reducing agency-wide expenditures significantly during the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. CBP Field Operations, the office responsible for securing the U.S. border at ports of entry, will experience budget cuts equating to the loss of several thousand CBP officers at these ports of entry, in addition to significant cuts to operating budgets and programs. Stakeholders in the travel and trade industries will see service impacts and CBP employees will be furloughed.

How is CBP going to maintain its priorities under sequestration?

CBP Field Operations has issued clear guidance on maintaining priority operations during sequestration with the following key principles:

  • Our security efforts will remain our highest priority. We will not allow degradation of our primary anti-terrorism mission;
  • We will prioritize core processing and facilitation operations for both travelers and cargo;
  • We will continue to carry out border security operations consistent with all applicable legal requirements, including mandatory examinations of perishable commodities; and
  • All trusted traveler and trader programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and Nexus, CTPAT and FAST will be maintained and emphasized, limiting the impact on CBP’s trusted partners.

 How will sequestration impact service at ports of entry?

CBP will operate in a way that is least disruptive to border security and the facilitation of lawful travel and trade, but CBP will face budget cuts and employee furloughs that will result in increased wait times and reduced hours of service. These impacts will likely increase during the summer peak travel season. In the air environment, we expect increased wait times at major U.S. international airports of up to 50 percent or more, with peak waits of up to four hours at our busiest airports. Increased processing times at airports — including both CBP operations and Transportation Security Administration screening – may make it more difficult for travelers to make tight connecting flights. There will also be greater wait times for personal vehicles and pedestrians at our land border ports, with the doubling of peak waits up to five hours or more at our largest land border crossings. Travelers should adjust their trip itineraries to account for unexpected delays.

Will any ports of entry be closed, or will hours be curtailed?

CBP may reduce hours of service at select airports, seaports and land ports of entry; these reductions will be made in a way that minimizes the impact to operations. Any changes to service hours will be port-specific and will be determined at the local level. Information will be shared publicly through various media outlets.

What will be the impact on cargo shipments?

Sequestration will reduce service levels in CBP’s cargo operations. There will be increased and potentially escalating delays for container examinations of up to 5 days or more at major seaports. We may also experience significant daily back-ups for truck shipments at land border ports. CBP will continue to carry out border security operations consistent with all applicable legal requirements, including mandatory examinations of perishable commodities. More detailed information on CBP Cargo Priorities under Sequestration and the Impact of Sequestration on Imports is posted separately for trade community stakeholders.

Customized Brokers will continue to monitor the situation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Customized Brokers