MIAMI—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Miami-Dade County today officially launched a traveler education campaign "Don't Pack a Pest" at the Miami International Airport.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and CBP Director of Field Operations Vernon Foret as well as other dignitaries from the partner agencies explained the goals of the campaign. CBP agriculture detector dog teams demonstrated how they are able to find hidden prohibited agriculture items. A display of fruits, vegetables and other agriculture items recently confiscated from the traveling public also was displayed.
CBP and its partners hope to move the campaign into other international airports nationwide upon successful implementation at the Miami Airport pilot location. Key components of the program include backlit signs in the passenger, customs and baggage claim areas of the airport, a video playing in the CBP secure area, part of the model ports program, and a prominent billboard on one of the main roads into the airport. More outreach activities are planned for the near future.
During the press conference both Putnam and Foret stressed the importance of partnerships among federal, state and local agencies to educate the traveling public and thus prevent the introduction of harmful pests into the U.S. environment. Foret said "the traveler will hear the message and be more likely to either not bring prohibited articles or to declare them upon entry. Whether it is terrorism, drugs or harmful pests, the hunt is just as zealous and the key is always prevention."
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.