Customs and Border Protection Staffing Levels Inadequate at Miami International Airport: Elected Officials

Officials say Miami International Airport has inadequate staffing levels for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers

Monday, Mar 24, 2014  |  Updated 5:57 PM EDT
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Officials say Miami International Airport has inadequate staffing levels for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Claudia DoCampo reports.

Officials say Miami International Airport has inadequate staffing levels for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Claudia DoCampo reports.

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Officials say Miami International Airport has inadequate staffing levels for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. Gonzalez, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa held a news conference Monday to discuss the staffing levels.

The airport, the country's second-busiest port of entry, has grown 24 percent in international passenger traffic in the past five years, more than any other in the U.S. More than 20 million international passengers came through MIA in 2013, second behind JFK in New York.

"We are the fastest growing airport in the United States," Gonzalez said Monday. "Our numbers are off the charts. We need immediate help with CBP officers processing our visitors through."

Officials did not specify how many more agents the airport needs or when they would get them.

While the airport has already added automated passport control kiosks four months ago to alleviate Customs traffic, international travelers at MIA seemed to agree the airport could use more CBP agents.

"I think they should definitely put more custom agents here, because [it will help] if you're running late for a flight, and you're not really familiar with the process and the machines they go a little bit slower."

Gonzalez will head to Washington, D.C. to meet with CBP and Department of Homeland Security officials to discuss solutions for the staffing shortage.

Officials said they hope the new agents will be in place in time for the 2016 World Cup in Brazil.

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