Shifting customs agents south caused border crossing backups here, says Schumer


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Traffic backups from Canada into the United States this summer were a result of sending customs agents from the northern U.S. border to the southern, asserts Sen. Charles Schumer.

In May, the Department of Homeland Security temporarily shifted agents to the U.S.-Mexico border. Initially, 30 agents were reassigned, then Rep. Brian Higgins said seven or eight followed a few weeks later. Staffing at all northern border crossings was affected.

Schumer, standing in front of the Peace Bridge, called the plan misguided, saying it hurt trade, strained security and, just didn’t make sense.

“Regardless of how you feel about the best ways to address the southern border crisis, one thing is certain: You don’t rob Peter to pay Paul,” said Schumer, D-New York.

“You don’t create a huge traffic jam here, in Western New York because maybe there are some problems somewhere else.”

Schumer and Higgins have sponsored a bill to be introduced in Congress next week which would set a minimum staffing requirement.

Higgins said most of the agents have returned to their Western New York stations, but it’s crucial to learn from this and not have it happen again.

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