Officials in Clinton County are chastising plans by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to reduce staffing on the northern border.
Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat from the 21st district, immediately wrote the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday when he was told that the department planned to relocate or terminate most of its personnel at its Plattsburgh Air Branch within 90 days. Owens wrote “I hope that I was not deliberately misled.....regarding CBP’s true intentions for the northern border.” Congressman Owens says there was some miscommunication, but CBP is cutting staff.
Owens remains miffed regarding the attitude toward the northern border, saying the transfers and cuts arise out of a national preoccupation with the border with Mexico.
The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce led the efforts to revitalize, rebuild and renovate the Champlain border facilities. President and CEO Garry Douglas is livid that Customs and Border Protection is removing security personnel from the northern border.
Congressman Owens, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which has authority over federal spending for the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, notes that the personnel cuts were announced after the most recent round of appropriations bills were acted on, and there was not an opportunity to review the plan.
Calls to Customs and Border Protection were not returned in time for this broadcast.