Peterson, Thompson Call on Customs and Border Protection to Restore Hours at Roseau, Lancaster
Washington, D.C. - Representatives Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, are calling for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to resume full service hours at the Lancaster and Roseau, Minnesota Ports of Entry, noting the reduced hours at the border crossing have had a negative economic impact on the local economy that far exceeded any savings in personnel costs to the agency. Peterson and Thompson issued the following statement:
“After months of Congressional pressure for information, we now know that CBP’s arbitrary port closures in Roseau and Lancaster have cost these communities more than $100,000 a year in economic costs, all while saving the government a paltry $15,000. Given that the Administration wants to spend $500 million on a non-essential project to paint the southern border wall black, this seems like less than a drop in the bucket. CBP’s continued diversion of resources from the northern to the southern border highlights their dismissive attitude towards Minnesota residents and businesses along the Canadian border. We call on CBP to immediately restore the hours of service at Lancaster and Roseau and stop marginalizing the needs of rural communities.”
On January 2018, CBP began a reduction in service hours at two ports along the U.S.-Canadian border in northern Minnesota. The Lancaster port was reduced from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. down to 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (during the winter months) or 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (during the summer months.) Roseau was reduced from 8:00 a.m.-midnight down to 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. year-round. These reductions had immediate consequences on the Minnesotans and Canadian citizens who rely on a working border for commerce and safety reasons.
Roseau Mayor Jeff Pelowski: “It appears that the CBP, an Agency with a $14.2 billion annual budget, has been saving approximately $15,000 a year by reducing the hours at the Roseau and Lancaster ports. In comparison, due to that reduction in hours, approximately 12,000 fewer vehicles have gone through the Roseau port, and that means 12,000 fewer vehicles potentially doing business in our small community.
“Another impact this reduction has had is on access to the Northwest Angle, with extra time and expense for our residents having to travel 90 minutes out of their way to access a 24-hour port in either Pembina or Warroad. It has also reduced access to our health care facilities for our Canadian neighbors and disrupted our way of life as a border community. Come on CBP, admit you made a mistake and do the right thing … restore the hours!!”
Charlie Bernstrom, owner of Bernstrom Oil & Convenience Store, Lancaster: “The reduced hours at our Lancaster Port of Entry have continued to negatively affect our gas station located on US Highway 59. Our Canadian traffic is down around 15% at our station. With Lancaster being a border community, our business as well as our main street businesses, campgrounds, and golf course rely heavily on our Canadian friends. Everyone has been negatively affected with the reduced hours. I received a FOIA response on what went into CBP’s decision to reduce hours, they are saving only $15,000 a year in overtime expenses by reducing our hours. This is very disappointing to see them make a decision like this over $15,000 a year.”