Julie Stalmer 7:15 p.m., June 25
Bersin Pressured Over Long Customs Waits
A Los Angeles area congresswoman is putting heat on U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief Alan Bersin over alleged customs staffing shortages at Los Angeles International Airport.
Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn released a letter to Bersin Friday saying, "The shortage of agents not only results in unnecessary delays and adds costs to our nation's airlines, but it overextends existing CBP personnel, ultimately weakening our national security."
Hahn, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, is calling for a quick federal review of the situation.
Gina Marie Lindsey, the L.A. airport's executive director, had complained about the situation to Bersin three months ago, but he never responded, according to a report in the Torrance Daily Breeze.
In her complaint to Bersin, Lindsey called the three-hour waits now required to clear customs at LAX "chronic and punishing."
Bersin, who resides in Point Loma with his wife, superior court judge Lisa Foster, had a controversial tenure as superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District and later was appointed by San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board before being named as the nation's customs chief by President Barack Obama in a so-called recess appointment in March 2010.
A subsequent hearing by the Senate Finance Committee raised questions regarding Bersin's documentation of his hired household help and he has yet to be confirmed.
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- Obama taps Alan Bersin to oversee the border — Nov. 18, 2009