Peters, Cornyn Bill to Bolster Safety and Operational Efficiency at U.S. Ports of Entry Signed into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Gary Peters applauded Congressional passage of bipartisan legislation he introduced with U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to bolster security and daily operational efficiency of air, land and sea ports of entry. The United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to publish a report assessing the strengths and potential vulnerabilities of the nation’s ports in order to facilitate international commerce while simultaneously targeting illegal activity. The legislation now goes to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“The day-to-day operations of businesses in Michigan and throughout the country depend on the secure flow of goods and people through our ports,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I am pleased Congress passed this bipartisan bill to provide our ports of entry with the resources needed to effectively handle increased levels of trade and travel, and ensure small business owners and entrepreneurs across Michigan can continue to sell their products in the global marketplace.”

“Trade and travel through Texas’ many ports of entry spur our state’s economy, connect cross-border communities, and provide jobs for millions of Texans, so it’s important we ensure ports have the resources and information they need to run efficiently and safely,” said Senator Cornyn.  “I’m grateful to the Trump Administration for their support of this critical bill that will affect millions of Texans.”

“Over $96 million in economic activity has been attributed to the Port of Monroe last year alone, and we’re committed to keeping up the pace to support logistics movements and Michigan’s economy,” said Paul LaMarre, Port Director, Port of Monroe. “The legislation Senator Peters introduced will provide a better understanding of what more can be done to help move cargo more efficiently here in Monroe and across the country, and we thank him for his efforts.”

“Ford Airport has experienced record growth in recent years, and that’s good for West Michigan’s economy. We want to keep that momentum going by making sure we can continue to process passengers and trade in a timely, safe and effective manner,” said Brian Picardat, Interim CEO, Gerald R. Ford International Airport. “As a Port of Entry, Ford Airport is appreciative of Senator Peters’ legislation to assess what more can be done to improve travel safety and economic opportunities.”

“Thank you to Senator Peters for working to make international travel easier for those coming to Northern Michigan,” said Kevin Klein, Airport Director, Cherry Capital Airport. “Tourism and economic development is dependent on travelers finding it easier to enter our country in a safe and efficient manner.  The focus on reducing wait times and proper staffing will increase the economic benefit to all business and promote Michigan as destination that world travelers want to visit.”

“We’re always looking for ways we can attract economic opportunities to Northern Michigan through the Port of Cheboygan, and this bill can help make sure we can continue doing so,” said Mark Lorenz, Chairman of the Port of Cheboygan Action Team and member of the City of Cheboygan Port Commission. “As home to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and a deep water port, we welcome Senator Peters’ legislation to boost commerce at all ports on the Great Lakes – big and small.”

“The Blue Water area is the one of the busiest international crossings in the country with trade and commerce constantly moving through the region. That means we must be vigilant in assessing threats and dangers,” said Tim Donnellon, St. Clair County Sheriff. “While my department will continue being proactive in helping facilitate safe commerce, the federal government needs to do so as well. I appreciate Senator Peters for helping to make sure our Northern Border is both secure and operating efficiently.”

The legislation will direct the Department of Homeland Security to review all current and potential threats posed by individuals and organized groups seeking to exploit security vulnerabilities at ports of entry. The bill also provides resources for needed improvements at ports to reduce wait times, conduct inspections that meet food safety standards, assess which facilities need technological and infrastructure upgrades and where trained personnel should be relocated.