As part of legislation to fund the government through the remainder of fiscal year 2013, the Senate will consider an amendment that will prohibit third-party reimbursement for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services. ALPA strongly supports this amendment, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), as it will prohibit the U.S. from seeking reimbursement from the UAE to build a new pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi.
A preclearance site in Abu Dhabi is a significant departure from current practice as no U.S. carriers fly to or from Abu Dhabi. The establishment of a CBP preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi would only benefit Etihad Airways, a foreign carrier that competes internationally with U.S. carriers, putting U.S. airlines – and their employees – at a competitive disadvantage. Moreover, allowing the UAE to pay for this facility creates a pay-to-play construct that will lead to the shifting of national security costs to entities and foreign governments. This type of arrangement will allow CBP resources to be dictated by economics rather than the security needs at individual border crossing sites.