By Cailey Rizzo
July 03, 2019
Credit: George Rose/Getty Images

Despite the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) diverting hundreds of employees away from airports and to the southern border, the bureau chief says that travelers should not notice significantly longer wait times during the potentially record-breaking 4th of July holiday travel period.

Last week, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said that the agency was expecting more than 2.6 million people to travel through airports on the Fourth of July, making it “potentially one of the busiest [days] in TSA history.” On Monday, Pekoske said that despite the TSA diverting 350 employees to the southern border, wait times at airports around the country have not been significantly impacted.

TSA employees have been redirected to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Protection agents, performing non-law enforcement duties. This is a temporary measure, Pekoske said, and government contractors should take over the role within a few months.

The number of TSA agents sent to the southern border could reach as high as 650, which Pekoske said was less than one percent of the total workforce.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration asked Congress for funds to hire 700 more airport screeners. According to Pekoske, the agency still needs to fill all 700 of these spots and is struggling with employee retention because they are unable to pay a competitive wage in some cities.

From Wednesday through Sunday, the TSA is expecting to screen 12.1 million people for the July 4 holiday period. If you’re traveling this holiday weekend, Sunday is expected to be the busiest day at the airport, so plan on arriving early. Pekoske said that the busiest times of day at the TSA checkpoint are early morning, late afternoon, and early evening.