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Customs, Border Protection now under one roof at port

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 10:31 AM

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Field Operations and Border Patrol offices recently moved into a new building at the Port of Lake Charles, a move federal officials hope will increase the agency’s manpower in the area.

The new facility, located at 152 Marine St., is one of only three in the nation that houses both CBP offices. Bill Rase, the port’s executive director, said Field Operations and Border Patrol will cover an area that will extend into east Texas.

Rase said combining the two offices under one roof had nothing to do with the upcoming industrial expansions that have been announced for Southwest Louisiana. However, CBP’s increased presence at the Port will be “very handy” for both Port officials and the community, especially when the industrial expansion begins, he said.

“During the last 30 years, the Port has grown quite a bit, and the need for the individuals has grown quite a bit,” Rase said. “Both (offices) have issues with any kind of international business that takes place.”

Rase said Customs’s Field Operations will make sure that the freight and vessels that enter and exit the Port will be registered with the United States. Field Operations will also inform Port officials on who is manning the ships and will provide the names of crew members.

Border Patrol will watch for anyone who attempts to enter the U.S. illegally.

The Port and the U.S. Government Services Administration signed a minimum 10-year lease to house the two agencies at the new facility. The GSA is an independent agency that provides office space, transportation and communications support to government offices.

Rase said that negotiating the terms of the lease took “about three or four years,” and that he expects the lease “to go past the full 10 years.”

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