CBP to hire more officers amid revenue gain

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POSTED: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 4:07pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 7:37am

The budget for Customs and Border Protection is going up, and so is the workforce. 

CBP is looking to hire 2,000 more officers by the end of next year. 

"This hiring spree that we're going through right now is one of the largest we've seen in quite a long time," CBP spokesperson Phil Barrera said. 

All CBP hires will have to complete a battery of physical and mental exams. They will then go to the academy for about four months. 

Starting salaries can range from $25,000 to $32,000. Former military usually qualify for the higher salary. CBP says about a third of its employees are military veterans. 

"They're going to be scattered throughout the U.S.," Barrera said. "It just so happens that our field office here in Laredo is going to get some officers as well. They're destined to go all over the place."

A pair of programs within Customs is helping bring in revenue. One is called reimbursable service. It is used during busy periods when border crossings see long wait times.

Approved companies can pay CBP to bring in extra officers to work in lanes that are normally closed. 9,000 officers got the extra assignment through the program last year.

"Some of these entities can call us up, and say we want you to open up an additional lane or two, or however amount of dollars worth they want to invest," Barrera said. "What happens basically is they take over and pay that salary for that officer for that amount of time."

Five ports of entry allowed for reimbursable services last year. This year, 16 more will open up. 

"Trade was being affected by people being hindered during crossing and their times they had to wait, so they came to an agreement with CBP, and the ultimate goal is get more people to come and shop and invest," Barrera added. 

Another program CBP is promoting is the Ready Lanes. Travelers with Ready Lanes cards can use designated lanes opened just for them at border crossings. 

CBP says it can save about 20 seconds in processing time for each vehicle.

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