Industry News

Sequestration to Impact Customs and Border Protection

March 4, 2013

On March 1, 2013, as required by law, President Obama issued a sequestration order canceling $85 billion in budgetary resources across the Federal Government for FY 2013. The budget cuts will have a significant impact on many federal agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP recently announced that the agency has redirected its resources towards its most critical, core functions within its Office of Field Operations. Certain less critical activities will be discontinued or postponed due to the new budgetary restraints. The sequestration cuts will be made equally across the agency, with no preference made based on port of arrival.

According to CBP, initial cuts began March 1st, and personnel furloughs may begin in mid-April. Critical priorities for CBP during the sequestration period include maintaining access to CBP points of contact for companies participating in CBP partnership and modernization initiatives, coordinating with other agencies, and maintaining the agency’s core antiterrorism mission, including the use of Radiation Portal Monitors. CBP will hold national-level conference calls weekly to ensure there are sufficient communication channels. There will not be special procedures for conveyance diversions, since all ports will be affected by sequestration. The agency estimates potential delays up to several hours at land border crossings, approximately a fifty percent increase in passenger processing times, and up to an additional 5 days for cargo inspections at ocean ports of entry. CBP has warned that further adjustments may be made once employee furloughs begin.

CBP’s Frequently Asked Questions document regarding sequestration is available here.

CBP’s Questions and Responses document regarding imports during sequestration is available here.

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