A follow up to our report on the changes in the Plattsburgh Air Branch for Patrol of the Northern Boarder.
After our report yesterday, Congressman Owens told WNBZ he spoke with Major General Randolph Alles, the Border Patrol’s Assistant Commissioner in the Office of Air and Marine. Congressman Owens tells us he was informed that three employees voluntarily agreed to a change of station and that CBP will be attempting to move a total of five employees to stations along the southern border before the end this year. If no additional employees volunteer to move, CBP will issue two employees a Permanent Change of Station, essentially ordering them to relocate while attempting to accommodate their personal family concerns. Owens was also informed CBP will attempt to transfer additional employees from the Plattsburgh Air Branch over the next two years.
Congressman Owens says he is encouraged CBP plans to discuss the options available to their employee, but he said his concerns about the proposed staffing reduction and their ramifications to the northern border’s security posture remain.” Congressman Owens is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which exercises authority over federal spending for the Department of Homeland Security and its contained agencies, including Customs and Border Protection. “I can assure my constituents that I will use every tool available to me as a Member of Congress and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to push back against reductions at the air branch that go beyond this year’s planned transfer of five employees,” Congressman Owens said.1
The Plattsburgh Air Branch supports air interdiction and border surveillance missions across the Northeast. In addition to that primary mission, the branch assists local and state law enforcement agencies in cases near the border. New York’s 21st Congressional District contains 13 border crossings and a large portion of New York’s shared border with Canada. Congressman Owens is the co-chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus which focuses on ways to speed the flow of goods and tourists across the border, the important economic and diplomatic partnership between the United States and Canada and cooperation between both nations’ respective border security agencies.