TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Cuts will worsen airport wait times, customs officials say

Daily Photo Galleries

By USA Today
Monday, March 4, 2013, 7:57 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Alpha to idle two West Virginia coal mines
  2. Former GOP nominee Romney will not run for president in ’16
  3. Judge orders nonprofit tax form release in case against IRS
  4. Medicare payments to tie doctor, hospital payments to quality rather than volume of care
  5. Pittsburgh travelers feel effects of Northeast blizzard
  6. Senators approve Keystone pipeline
  7. Taliban 5 linking with Haqqani, Graham says
  8. Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think
  9. Obama calls for government spending surge
  10. Attorney general nominee Lynch draws glowing review before Senate confirmation hearing
  11. New York father kils 3 generations of family, himself