ORLANDO, FL – Today, Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) announced that Orlando International Airport (OIA) will be allocated 18 new, permanent Customs and Border Protection Officers by the end of 2018, including three arriving this summer. This is the first significant and permanent staffing increase since 2009, even as OIA’s international passenger load has grown by 89%.
Said Rep. Demings, “I am grateful that Orlando International Airport will be allocated 18 additional officers to help our international passengers get off their planes and through the airport quickly and safely. This increase in staffing has been one of my top priorities as a member of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.
“Orlando International Airport is one of America’s best, and Orlando is the number one visitor destination in our great country—something for which we should all be very proud. As we continue to grow our economy and attract new and returning visitors to Central Florida, it’s vital that our infrastructure keeps pace. Today’s news helps ensure that we can continue to grow safely and quickly for years to come.”
Customs and Border Protection currently has a shortfall of over 2,100 officers. The new agents are part of a nationwide hiring surge funded by the 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which included $7.7 million for new officers. This appropriation was the result of efforts by Rep. Demings and others, who introduced legislationearlier in the year to fund additional staff.
Rep. Demings sits on the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, with direct oversight over federal security at OIA. She has successfully led efforts to reduce and ultimately end TDY assignments from OIA’s two federal inspection stations and has protested attempts to shift CBP officers away from OIA.
From 2009 to 2016, international passengers arriving at Orlando International Airport grew by 89%, from 1.49 million to 2.83 million. However, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority reports that over the same period, Customs and Border Protection Officer staffing levels have remained flat. Even with maximum number of personnel in the facilities, the arrivals hall quickly overflows during peak times, forcing passengers to remain on aircrafts until previous arrivals have cleared Customs and Immigration. The new staffing additions should help to alleviate this backlog, processing visitors more quickly while maintaining a standard of excellence on security.