• Atlanta customs officers sent to work at border affecting airport, travelers

    By: Dave Huddleston

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - The increase in Customs and Border Protection officers on the U.S. southwest border is having a direct impact on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

    If you plan to do a quick trip to the Bahamas or go overseas and were hoping to sign up for Global Entry, similar to TSA pre-check, we've learned officers have had to cancel scheduled appointments to make sure there are enough officers to keep the airport safe.

    The reassignment of local CBP officers to work the U.S. border is now slowing things down at the airport.

    Just recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection canceled some travelers' appointments and reassigned officers because an undisclosed number of them are now serving on the California-Mexico border.

    Joe Castillo travels two to three times a week. He's trying to renew his Global Entry account, allowing him to zip through long lines at customs, but he said it's taken four months just to renew it.

    "They have my fingerprints, my passport. How tough can this be to renew it?" Castillo said.


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    Acting Atlanta Director Lee Deloatch said to keep lines moving and wait times to a minimum, he's pulled staff working on services including Global Entry.

    "The normal turnaround would be three to four weeks. It may now be four to six or seven weeks because we are moving the schedule for appointments back further because there have less resources to dedicate to that particular assignment," Deloatch said.

    Officer Marshall McCants was one of the airport officers who left Atlanta to work two months in California. 

    "I'm right on the front line. Vehicle traffic at a land border, people constantly coming, and it was still busy as if it was the middle of the day," McCants said.

    "The main thing is to be patient with us during this time," Deloatch said.

    Deloatch said facial recognition cameras save the agency from facing massive long lines of travelers in customs.

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