Green, Houston Members of Congress, Meet with INS Over Airport Staffing
February 13, 2003
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green called senior Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials into his office today to hear complaints about the low numbers of INS staff at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). He was joined by Houston Congressmen Chris Bell, Kevin Brady, John Culberson, and staff from the offices of Congressmen Tom Delay, Nick Lampson, and Jim Turner.
The INS needs to treat Houston fairly, Green said. We are just asking for equal treatment as other ports-of-entry across the country. Houston is a major hub and has the same vulnerabilities of other ports. We need the necessary personnel to process travelers quickly and safely.
The low levels of staffing86% at IAH versus 100% for Atlanta and 103 % for Miamiare leading to major disruptions for international carriers at IAH. When international travelers are not processed quickly enough by INS, airlines have to delay flights and put passengers in hotels overnight. With the current dismal economic status of major airlines, this bureaucratic problem further threatens operations of carriers in Houston, primarily Continental Airlines, Houstons second largest employer.
During Rep. Greens meeting, the INS committed to increasing overtime pay for IAH staffers immediately and bringing IAH staffing to 96 percent of their full levels within the next couple of months through new hires from the academy and temporary transfers.
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