For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2014

Media Contact:
Greg Chin

305-876-7017



LAWMAKERS, FEDERAL OFFICIALS URGED TO INCREASE CBP STAFFING AT MIA


(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 

Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González travelled to Washington, D.C. last week for a series of meetings with U.S. lawmakers and high-level federal officials aimed at increasing staffing levels of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport. In recent years, CBP staffing levels have struggled to keep pace with MIA’s rapid international passenger growth – 30 percent over the past six years – often resulting in lengthy passenger wait times in the airport’s passport control areas.

During the three-day trip, González met with members of South Florida’s congressional delegation who continued to demonstrate their unified, bipartisan support for increased CBP staffing at America’s second-busiest port of entry. The delegation members – Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson, and Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia – will be sending a joint letter to new CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske inviting him to visit MIA to view the situation firsthand. Prior to traveling to Washington, González met with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in his Doral office to discuss the matter.

González echoed the delegation’s message during his meeting with newly confirmed CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske and Deputy CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan last week, extending to them a personal invitation to visit MIA. The meeting included the federal agency’s full leadership team, and both parties agreed to work diligently to resolve the staffing issue at MIA and explore creative solutions to meet MIA’s unique, immediate personnel needs. During his visit, González also met with former colleagues from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) including Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs at DHS, who previously held the position of CBP Commissioner.

“My job is to protect, promote and project MIA as a key County and national asset, and Mayor Gimenez has made adequate CBP staffing a top priority,” said González. “I’m personally grateful to our federal partners at CBP and to our
congressional delegation for their time and for expressing a consistent, sincere willingness to work together towards a solution to the CBP staffing challenges at MIA.”

Strong international passenger traffic growth at MIA is expected to continue this year with the confirmed addition of six new international passenger carriers at MIA in 2014 and major global events such as the World Cup in Brazil rapidly approaching.

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AVIATION DEPARTMENT