Cuts will worsen airport wait times, customs officials say
WASHINGTON — Customs officials said travelers entering the United States are having delays at large airports because of federal spending cuts and that worse problems are on the way.
Agencies within the Department of Homeland Security initiated a hiring freeze and reduced overtime when the $85 billion in spending cuts across the government began on Friday.
Customs and Border Protection said it reduced its number of checkpoint lanes to cut overtime staffing during the weekend, and waiting times for arriving passengers seeking to clear checkpoints spiked at some airports.
Typically, 25 percent to 40 percent of the lanes at two top international gateways — New York's JFK airport and Miami International — would have been staffed with employees on overtime, according to the agency.
On Saturday morning at JFK, the agency says, passengers from 56 flights waited over two hours to clear customs, and passengers from 14 flights waited longer than three hours. In Miami, passengers from 51 flights waited longer than two hours, and passengers from four flights had to wait longer than three hours.
“These wait times are not typical for this time period and are related to decreased booth staffing,” the agency said.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, said Monday that wait times at customs checkpoints and at Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints for departing passengers will get longer with reduced overtime and a hiring freeze even before furloughs begin in a month.
“We will see these effects cascade over the next week,” Napolitano told a breakfast sponsored by Politico.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- His murder-arson conviction overturned, man walks free 24 years later
- White House ricochets in nonprofits’ birth control coverage fray
- U.S. could have done better, says brother of slain journalist
- Reid apologizes for jokes at Asian business event
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight
- NASA expected to hire private rocket
- Ferguson residents fear return of rioting, looting
- Kentucky firefighters recovering from ice stunt shocks
- Russian astronaut sends tiny satellite on mission
- Obama pressured to obliterate ISIS as attack risks rise
- Mudslides plague Washington state after wildfire strips hillsides