City of Brownsville authorized to help pay customs officials overtime

Brownsville city officials say that during one weekend, CBP officials were paid a total of $29,000 in overtime.

During the holidays, border wait times at international bridges could reach several hours as commuters cross into the United States.

"This is a situation that is not any different than any other bridge in any other community," said Ramiro Gonzalez, Brownsville’s government affairs liaison.

But, as a way to process those coming in from Mexico quicker, the city of Brownsville was recently approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help pay for the overtime of customs officials on Gateway International Bridge.

"It is costly. There is a cost to it," Gonzalez says.

Brownsville city officials on Tuesday announced the overtime the city will be paying these federal employees will be around $120 an hour. These costs come after CBP did a test run of the program during April of this year.

City officials say that during one weekend, they paid CBP officials a total of $29,000 in overtime.

But the city of Brownsville says the benefits outweigh the costs. They say they would much rather have visitors spending their money in the city, shopping or dining, rather than waiting on a bridge for hours.

City officials says additional CBP manpower will come during Thanksgiving week from Wednesday through Sunday and during Christmas from December 22 to New Year’s Eve.

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