As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, I have serious concerns about the findings of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report I requested, “Border Security: Despite Progress, Weaknesses in Traveler Inspections Exist at Our Nation’s Ports of Entry


* GAO investigators who visited border crossings found CBP officers missing from their inspection booths at some locations, and officers failed to ask investigators for their travel documents at other locations.


* The report found that insufficient staffing of CBP officers contributes to morale problems, fatigue, high turnover, and safety issues that could undermine traveler inspections.


* The report concludes that staffing shortfalls cause the agency to cut back on required officer training.


According to GAO, much of the staffing shortage is caused by the departure of CBP officers who leave for other jobs with better benefits or retire. Many ports of entry are losing CBP officers faster than they can hire replacements. GAO also found that weaknesses in the infrastructure of land border crossings could allow people to enter illegally. CBP estimates that $4 billion in capital improvements at land borders are needed.


We owe the brave men and women charged with keeping terrorists, illegal drugs, and other dangerous people and items out of the country much better training and working conditions.


Securing our nation’s ports of entry is a critical national security priority. Congress must focus more attention and resources on this issue, and I will work to see that it does.


As a first step, my Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the GAO report on Tuesday, November 13, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.