EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is launching new partnerships designed to promote cross-border trade and facilitate essential travel that its says will positively affect the Borderland.
On Monday, CBP announced 15 tentative selections for new reimbursable service agreements utilizing public-private partnerships.
The new relationships will allow approved private sector, as well as local and state entities, to reimburse CBP for expanded services for incoming commercial and cargo traffic. This will also include international traveler arrivals in 10 states, like Texas and New Mexico.
“CBP is committed to working with our private sector partners to implement innovative solutions that enhance America’s economic security,” said William Ferrara, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Field Operations. “These reimbursable services agreements will allow CBP to support requests for new or expanded services and enhance our ability to facilitate lawful trade and travel.”
In the El Paso region, the Santa Teresa International Export/Import Livestock Crossing is the chosen entity for a new reimbursable services agreement in a land environment.
CBP spokesman Roger Maier told KTSM 9 News that the international cattle yard, east of the port of entry, is privately run and that CBP staffs and processes imports on weekdays.
“Under this agreement, the cattle yard will cover CBP officer overtime expenses so CBP can expand and offer services on Saturday, as well,” Maier said.
The Reimbursable Services Program started in 2013 and has grown to include 227 stakeholders. The program has provided more than 824,000 additional processing hours that has led to processing more than 14.4 million travelers and more than 1.9 million personal and commercial vehicles, according to a news release.
Reimbursable service agreements were authorized by Section 481 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to increase CBP’s ability to ensure new or enhanced services by creating partnerships with private companies and government agencies. Under this authority, reimbursable service include:
- Agricultural processing
- Border security services
- Immigration inspections
- Support services at ports of entry
The statute also includes limitations at CBP-serviced airports that include overtime costs and support services for airports with at least 100,000 international passengers arriving on an annual basis. Airports with less than 100,000 international passengers arriving annually may offset CBP for salaries and expenses of no more than five full-time equivalent CBP officers.
The new partnerships are part of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy, a series of transformation efforts designed to modernize its practices and provide expanded services at domestic ports of entry.
The entities tentatively selected for new reimbursable services agreements in the air environment were:
- · Air Ambulance Worldwide (St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport);
- City of San Antonio Aviation (San Antonio International Airport);
- Classic Services Inc, LLC (Philadelphia International Airport);
- Dumont Aircraft Charter, LLC dba Dumont Jets (Wilmington Airport, DE);
- Hawthorne Global Aviation Services (Cobb County International Airport);
- Phillips 66 (George Bush Intercontinental Airport);
- Prior Aviation Service Inc. (Buffalo Niagara International Airport);
- Savannah Airport Commission (Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport);
- Singapore Airlines Limited (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport);
- Sun Country, Inc. DBA Sun Country Airlines (Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport);
- Virgin Atlantic Airways (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport); and
- Waste Connections, Inc. (George Bush Intercontinental Airport).
The entity selected for a new reimbursable services agreement in the land environment was:
- Santa Teresa International Export/Import Livestock Crossing (Santa Teresa, NM).
The entities selected for a new reimbursable services agreements in the sea environment were:
- Georgia Ports Authority (Savannah, GA); and
- H & M International Transportation, Inc. (Port of New York and New Jersey).