By Roman Tiraspolsky Royalty-free stock photo ID: 583094878 New York, February 14, 2017: A U.S Customs and Border Protection vehicle is parked in the street on Lexington Avenue.

CBP employees aid in Afghan crisis

Employees at State and DOD aren’t the only feds enduring a grueling month—shoulders to the wheel, managing twin security and refugee crises arising from the collapse of the internationally-backed government in Afghanistan. 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) too has been a big player, at U.S. ports of entry and at other points on the long and hazardous odyssey more than 100,000 refugees from the area now find themselves on. 

This week, leadership at the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents CBP professionals who manage border security, is recognizing their herculean hours and efforts—and reminding fellow feds and the public of their role.  

“Once again, Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations employees have been called on to serve our nation at a time of need,” NTEU said in a release. “At military bases overseas and at Dulles and Philadelphia airports, CBP employees are playing a key role in Operation Allies Refuge, a U.S. government effort to assist citizens, refugees and allied personnel evacuating Afghanistan.”

And to punctuate the point and give credit where it’s due, the union’s top leader met with and addressed CBP workers, members of NTEU Chapter 159, at Dulles International Airport this week. 

“Recent events, including the Afghanistan evacuation, Hurricane Ida, the Southwest Border surge and the pandemic, put into sharp focus the incredible work of all of our CBP employees who are on the frontlines every day keeping our country safe,” Tony Reardon, president of NTEU told his members. “These employees, who have been reporting to their ports of entry every day during the pandemic, cannot be recognized enough for their service to our nation.” 

Some CBP volunteered for overseas work, and many more are working overtime in the U.S at the moment, helping to shepherd and process the throngs. 

CBP at Dulles and other major ports of entry had been “enduring up to 16 hours a day” on the job, according to the union. While clearly proud of the heroic—and needed—effort by CBP on the ground, managing large numbers of refugees, the union reported it has successfully pushed back and won workers much-needed rest and a better pacing of operations. 

“Meanwhile,” the NTEU release reminds,”CBP employees continue to handle a surge of migrants along the southern border and continue moving cargo and screening international travelers at all the ports of entry, as they have been throughout the pandemic.” 

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