US Customs and Border Protection expands the scope of its public-private partnership activities.

One of the principal mandates of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service is to facilitate trade flowing into and out of the United States. Trend data supports the assertion that each year the volume of goods entering and exiting the country is  growing. For instance, the total value of goods imported into the United States during fiscal year 2013 surpassed that registered just two years earlier, in 2011, by a sizable forty percent. Because government trade authorities and policymakers expect that the numbers will continue to rise, the CBP has been given the tools to address future growth in trade. Among these is the Reimbursable Services Program.

Public and private sector cooperation optimizes resource utilization

The Reimbursable Services Program was developed as a part of the agency’s Business Transformation Initiatives (BTI) program. Part of the BTI included the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Under Section 559 of the ACT, Customs and Border Protection was granted the authority to “support requests for expanded services as well as improvements to infrastructure through reimbursable services and donation acceptance authority.” According to the CBP, reimbursable services that could be performed under this Section 559 include:

  • customs
  • immigration and agricultural processing
  • salaries for additional staff
  • overtime expenses at airports

In July of this year CBP teamed up with Dell Computer to utilize section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 to put the Reimbursable Services Program to use at the Port of Entry at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico Port of Entry. Under the arrangement agreed upon by the CBP and Dell Computer, the former agreed to increase the hours during which south-bound freight can be moved at that border crossing. Dell agreed to pay for the extension of hours, which normally run from 8am to 8pm Monday-Friday, to 8am to midnight during those same five business day for a period of one year.

CBP and Dell’s use of the Reimbursable Services Program makes Santa Teresa more competitive

According to the director of the International Business Accelerator at Santa Teresa, Jerry Pacheco, “Expanded hours puts the Santa Teresa crossing on equal footing with border bridges in nearby El Paso.” He went on to add that “We miss a lot of border-crossing traffic because of our limited hours, but now we we’ll no longer have this competitive disadvantage with El Paso.”

The utilization of the Reimbursable Services Program by Dell Computer to cooperate with US Customs and Border Protection was facilitated by New Mexico’s US senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich.