11.14.16

Senators Peters, Stabenow Call for New Alpena Customs Agent in Letter to Customs and Border Protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. SenatorsGary Peters (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske expressing their concern regarding the loss of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent stationed in Northeast Lower Michigan.  The agent recently retired and CBP does not currently plan to replace him. 

“Without a border agent serving this very large geographic area, communities in this region will suffer serious economic consequences. As described in the attached letter from the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, not filling this position will result in Rogers City losing its Port of Entry status, and international travelers and air traffic bypassing the Alpena Airport. Commercial and recreational vessels will face new burdensome delays. As home to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and destination for the growing Great Lakes cruise market, a lack of customs agent serving this region will also hurt local tourism,” wrote the Senators.   

“We urge your agency to assign a full-time agent to Northeast Lower Michigan. We know U.S. Customs and Border Protection is aware of these issues and urge you to work with the community in stationing an agent to meet the needs of this region,” the Senators went on to say. 

The full text of the Senators’ letter can be found below:

November 10, 2016

Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20004

We are writing regarding our concern about the loss of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent stationed in Northeast Lower Michigan.  This agent recently retired and it’s our understanding that your agency does not plan to replace this agent.

Without a border agent serving this very large geographic area, communities in this region will suffer serious economic consequences. As described in the attached letter from the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, not filling this position will result in Rogers City losing its Port of Entry status, and international travelers and air traffic bypassing the Alpena Airport. Commercial and recreational vessels will face new burdensome delays. As home to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and destination for the growing Great Lakes cruise market, a lack of customs agent serving this region will also hurt local tourism.

Local municipalities in this area are committed to partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in working to continue service in this region.  Alpena County is willing to donate office space at the Alpena County Regional Airport.  Having an agent stationed at the airport would support the region’s significant international commerce demands and also help defray travel costs for agents traveling back and forth from Sault Ste. Marie.

We urge your agency to assign a full-time agent to Northeast Lower Michigan. We know U.S. Customs and Border Protection is aware of these issues and urge you to work with the community in stationing an agent to meet the needs of this region.

Thank you for your continued work to protect our nation’s northern border. We look forward to your response.


Sincerely,

Gary Peters

U.S. Senator 

Debbie Stabenow

U.S. Senator