UPDATE – 6/1/13
Although the U.S. Congress has passed legislation which allows the CBP to better allocate cost reductions, the border protection service is still suffering from manpower reductions and a reduction in overtime authorizations. You will most likely have longer border wait times at all ports including land crossings, airports, and ferries.
U.S. budget problems have the potential to severely impact border operations – particularly during heavy travel periods such as summertime. The “sequestration” process that went into effect March 1, 2013, could lead to the loss of several thousand Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry across the U.S. There would also be significant cuts to operating budgets and numerous programs.
What Will be the Impact of these Budget Cuts?
It is too soon to know exactly what the impact of the budget cuts will be. In addition, the U.S. Congress is proposing bills that would give some of the money back so the true impact won’t be clear for several months. However, if the cuts do go through, you can expect the following:
- Significantly longer border wait times for vehicles at land ports, airline passengers, and even pedestrians crossing the border.
- Longer cargo processing times at all ports.
- Possibly reduced hours of service at some ports.
- Longer approval times on new trusted traveler applications.
In general, nothing will go away. The CBP will continue to police the border, trusted traveler programs will remain in place, cargo will be inspected, and taxes and duties collected. However, all of those things could take a lot longer to accomplish, and your wait to cross the border could grow substantially.