Peterson Derides Abrupt U.S. Customs Decision to Lock Gates at Ports

November 29, 2018
Press Release

Congressman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) has called on the Administration to provide the resources needed to adequately staff the Ports of Entry along the U.S.-Canada border. Travelers heading into Canada were surprised Tuesday night when they discovered U.S. ports at Roseau and Lancaster were locked at 8 P.M., forcing vehicles to divert more than an hour and reroute through Pembina, ND or Warroad, MN Ports of Entry.

“There are solutions available to keep our northern ports open longer, but the Administration’s decision to divert significant resources from our northern border to accommodate a massive presence at our southern border is hurting our rural communities,” said Congressman Peterson. “I understand the need to keep our borders secure, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of rural Minnesota communities. Local businesses in Roseau and Lancaster depend on Canadian traffic to spend money in their towns, and further border access restrictions only makes the problem worse.”

Roseau Mayor Jeff Pelowski said, “The Canadian authorities delayed their decision to reduce hours after hearing from the local community, yet our border enforcement agency is completely ignoring our needs and moving forward with one of the most ridiculous government decisions I have seen in my 20 years as an elected public official.”

Border agencies on both sides are causing confusion to American and Canadian travelers. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced a reversal in their decision to match U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s (CBP) reduction in hours, and instead will keep their corresponding ports open until midnight. In the last year alone, CBP reduced hours of service and staff at the Lancaster and Roseau Ports of Entry due to the reallocation of personnel and budgeting priorities for the southern border. As the nation’s overall border protection policies are being debated, Congressman Peterson urges CBP and CBSA to work out a written agreement to rectify border access problems in Roseau and Lancaster.