The below communication comes directly from Victor Gonzalez President of the Laredo Licensed Customs Brokers Association. Come March 1st we could see long lines at all bridges. Let’s hope this is cleared up before it starts.
By now you have almost certainly heard about sequestration. Sequestration is a fiscal policy procedure adopted by Congress to deal with the federal budget deficit. The Budget Control Act of 2011 established a Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with reducing the deficit by an additional $1.2 – $1.5 trillion over ten years. The act also included sequestration or an automatic spending cutback should the committee fail, a provision intended to “force” the committee to act.
Sequestration was triggered when the committee failed to reach an agreement on November 21, 2011 and it was scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013. However, it was delayed for two months – until March 1, 2013, by the deal made on New Year’s Eve, called the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Now, without Congressional action to prevent sequestration, the first round of cuts will take place on March 1, 2013. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified last week regarding the impact of sequestration before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriation .
Excerpt from Napolitano: “DHS’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff and operate 329 ports of entry (POEs) across the country, welcoming travelers, and facilitating the flow of goods essential to our economy. Each day, almost one million people arrive at these ports of entry by land, sea, and air. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 alone, DHS processed more than 350 million travelers at our POEs, including more than 98 million international air travelers, as well as $2.3 trillion dollars worth of trade. Trade and travel is absolutely essential to our economy. Indeed, according to the U.S. Travel Association, one new American job is created for every 33 travelers arriving from overseas. Any increases in wait times at the borders will have a direct impact on our Nation’s economy. A study commissioned by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration found that border wait times at the five busiest southern border POEs result in an average economic output loss of $116 million per minute of delay. This study states that in 2008, delays cost the U.S. economy 26 thousand jobs and $6 billion in output.”
The LLUSCBA Executive Board met with Eugenio Garza Jr., CBP’s Director of Field Operations for the Laredo Field Office in mid January to discuss the issue of sequestration. The Laredo CBP Field Office has been planning for months and they are prepared should the sequestration go into effect. Simply stated, we have been assured that CBP will shift its resources as necessary to ensure that people and cargo continue to cross the border without additional delays. We at the LLUSCBA will continue to monitor the acts of congress and we’ll continue working with CBP locally to attempt to minimize the impact to the trade community should sequestration take place.