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New Report Links CBP Officer Staffing to Economic Growth

A new report from a research arm of the University of Southern California (USC) links Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer staffing to both revenue generation and job creation.

The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) report, released April 8, 2013, estimates the impacts of wait times at major POEs on the U.S. economy due to changes in CBP officer staffing. The study concludes that adding one CBP officer at one of the studies' land or airport locations would inject $2 million into the economy and produce 33 new jobs.

CBP's complex mission involves law enforcement activities that can cause delays in passenger and cargo flow across U.S. borders, particularly during peak times, which result in significant wait times at ports of entry. According to the CREATE report, additional CBP officers placed at high-traffic ports will lessen delays and lead to a significant return on investment in terms of both costs savings and Gross Domestic Product.

The positive economic impacts of additional CBP officers would be measurable in tourist and business travel expenditures and freight transportation costs. These changes, in turn, would produce additional economic ripple effects (like increased tax revenue and job creation). The CREATE report measures total impacts in terms of Gross Domestic Product, value of time or opportunity costs, and employment at both the regional and national level. Reductions in CBP officer staffing, the report found, would have an opposite result.

The study parallels text in the President's FY 14 Budget, which calls for 1,600 additional CBP officers through appropriations, and increases in user fees that would account for an additional 1,877 CBP officers.

CREATE is an interdisciplinary national research center established by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004. It is based at USC in the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of Engineering. The full report is available from the University of Southern California.