Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today introduced the Border Airport Enhancement Act, which would provide support for the Plattsburgh International Airport by designating it as a Port of Entry (POE). This bill also provides support to streamline the hiring of new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents by exempting prior law enforcement, military, or individuals with security clearances from a polygraph test.
The Plattsburgh International Airport is one of only two primary commercial service airports in close proximity to the Northern or Southern Border designated as user-fee airports, which requires the airports to pay out of pocket for CBP services, such as security screenings, cargo security and examinations, and immigration inspections.
This designation change will save the Plattsburgh International Airport roughly $600,000 per year. Additionally, the current polygraph test requirement has negatively impacted dozens of constituents of New York’s 21st District who have applied to work for CBP.
“I’m working to ensure Plattsburgh International Airport is equipped with the resources it needs to continue meeting the transportation needs of families in Upstate New York and the North Country and providing access for tourists visiting our region,” Stefanik said. “The Border Airport Enhancement Act will provide the Plattsburgh International Airport with access to important services and also support CBP in its efforts to hire new agents. I will continue pushing for results on behalf of our communities in New York’s 21st District.”
“The Clinton County Legislature is grateful for Congresswoman Stefanik’s continued advocacy on this critical issue,” said Mark Henry, Clinton County Legislative Chairperson (R-Area 3, Chazy) and Robert Hall, Plattsburgh International Airport Committee Chairperson (D-Area 10, Plattsburgh.) “This is simply common sense legislation that will save the County hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be reinvested back into the community. The designation of the Plattsburgh International Airport as a Port of Entry is long overdue and we thank the Congresswoman for moving this legislation that will have a direct impact on the financial stability of the airport.”
"Plattsburgh is truly an international airport, strongly serving the neighboring Canadian market as a key way to bring services to the North Country," said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "It is in the economic interests of the U.S. to maximize international activity at near border airports like ours. This includes the growing general aviation market with Canadian planes being drawn here to clear Customs and eventually international flights aimed in good part at serving Montreal from here. It just makes sense to treat Plattsburgh the same as other airports designated as ports of entry, eliminating the requirement of the airport funding Customs operations. We thank Congresswoman Stefanik and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support of a fix which would grant POE status to airports within fifty miles of an international border. I and Mark Henry, Chair of the Clinton County Legislature, will be in Washington in mid-May to meet with the Congresswoman and both Senators and we hope this can be achieved this year. Onward and upward!"
Last July, Stefanik called on CBP to designate Plattsburgh International Airport as a Port of Entry instead of a user-fee airport.
Read full bill text here.