Fairbanks, Alaska—In slightly more than a 24-hour period, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers welcomed more than 1,600 athletes, fans and Arctic Winter Games (AWG) officials arriving on 15 commercial aircraft.
“The athletes competing in the Arctic Winter Games prepare for years. It only seems right that CBP put the same level of preparation into ensuring timely processing and a professional welcome to the United States,” said Area Port Director Lance E. Robinson.
In anticipation of the additional arrivals, local leadership detailed additional staff to the Fairbanks port of entry. Some of the duties performed by CBP included temporary weapon importation for athletes competing in the biathlon, checking health certificate and shot records for canines utilized in the mushing (dog-sled) competition, and passport control.
The AWG is a high profile circumpolar sporting competition held on a bi-annual basis. This year, teams and athletes from the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland and Norway traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, to compete in events ranging from skiing to table tennis.
Some of the events contested will be alpine skiing, badminton, basketball, biathlon ski and snowshoe, cross country skiing, curling, speed skating and wrestling. In 2014, athletes will vie for medals in more than twenty different events. The games began on March 15th and will conclude on March 22nd.
While the highlight of the games is sport, the AWG is also a cultural and social exchange. The goals of the AWG are to promote the spirit of fair play, competition, inclusion, development, and understanding of other people while enhancing the self-esteem of all the youthful participants.
By all accounts, the arrival of guests attending the games went very smoothly. It was a great beginning to an exciting week of competition and cultural exchange in the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks.
CBP is responsible for the lawful admittance of all visitors to the United States, insuring all items brought are in compliance with U.S. regulations, and that no harmful pests or diseases are allowed in.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.