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Public Statements

Rep. Engel Praises Changes to Protect the Jobs of American Border Protection Workers in Ireland

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Eliot Engel issued the following statement following the decision from the Federal Impasse Panel that certain American U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees, who have been serving under "temporary" status overseas do not have to rotate for 14 years. Rep. Engel's legislation, H.R. 1517, made them all "permanent" in order to allow them to remain in their positions. With the decision eliminating the rotation, most of the current workers will be retired by then and not have to worry about any changes to their lives.

To view his remarks upon the bill's passage in the House in 2009 - http://engel.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=178&sectiontree=6,178

There are currently 15 CBP employees working in Pre-Clearance in Shannon and Dublin, Ireland originally hired as temporary workers. There are around 35 employees total including other preclearance locations affected by this change. Pre-clearance is a process designed to streamline the customs procedures and allow travelers to go through customs before reaching their destination in the U.S. These appointments date back to the 1990's with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). HR 1517 would allow these employees to remain in Ireland as career Federal employees, rather than requiring a return to the U.S. and the destruction of an established way of life in Ireland.

These employees were hired on overseas temporary part time appointments, but the work requirement evolved into full time on a permanent basis. Because an agreement between the United States and Ireland requires that all pre-clearance employees be "permanent" employees, and by definition employees on temporary overseas appointments are "limited" employees (albeit in this case, limited for an indefinite duration), CBP is in violation of the two countries' agreement. Continued employment of these individuals is in the best interest of CBP and America as the work requirement remains and is critical to protecting our Nation's borders.

"There are a number of employees in similar positions around the world. It has been through no fault of their own that these loyal employees, some who have been protecting our country for almost twenty years, face a massive change to their established way of life in Ireland, or other countries, and a threat to their careers with the US Customs and Border Protection. The goal of my legislation, and hopefully that of everyone involved, is to enable these employees to stay close to their families and keep their positions protecting our country," said Rep. Engel.


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