Recent Press Releases
Sep 20 2001
SENATOR COLLINS HAILS APPROPRIATORS FOR INCLUDING $25 MILLION IN KEY SPENDING BILL TO HIRE 285 ADDITIONAL CUSTOMS INSPECTORS FOR AMERICA''S NORTHERN BORDER
Collins gains assurances that Maine will gain its fair share of the new inspectors
"Our Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Service Inspectors work long and hard to protect the integrity of our borders," said Senator Collins. "But they need reinforcements. The situation in Maine is of particular concern to me. Ninety-eight Customs inspectors are currently stationed at Maine''s 23 land border ports of entry. Yet, according a Customs Service analysis, Maine should have 253 inspectors, or two-and-one-half times more than are currently there."
Senator Collins, in a Senate floor exchange with Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), the managers of the Treasury and General Government appropriations bill, commended the appropriators for their "foresight, which was confirmed by the tragic events of September 11, and the suggestion that some of the terrorists may have entered the United States through ports of entry in Maine." Senator Collins also secured assurances from these two key Senators that Maine would receive its fair share of additional Customs Inspectors.
While the Northern Border hiring initiative adopted by the Senate last night will not ameliorate all of Maine''s staffing problems at its land border ports of entry, Senator Collins lauded it as a "strong step" in the right direction.
The House of Representatives approved similar legislation earlier this summer, that includes $15 million for additional Customs services staffing nationwide, but does not specifically allocate funds for the Northern border. Lawmakers from both chambers will meet in the coming weeks to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Senator Collins has vowed to press her colleagues to include the funding in the final legislation sent to President Bush.