Peterson, Klobuchar, Franken, Nolan Commend Border Security Pilot Program in Warroad

May 19, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Congressman Collin C. Peterson’s (D-Minn.) office organized a meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Senator Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) office, Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) office, and Richard M. Nolan’s (D-Minn.) office and learned that the agency selected the Lake of the Woods region for a pilot program to test safer and smarter technology reporting methods to replace outdated Outlying Area Reporting Station phones.

The decision by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to initiate a pilot program in the Lake of the Woods region is encouraging news towards addressing a pressing issue for a community that depends heavily on tourism. Fishermen and outdoorsmen from around the world travel to Lake of the Woods with their families to enjoy incredible fishing experiences enhanced by a strong resort presence. Oftentimes fishing guides and their guests travel into Ontario, which prompts border security checks by Canada and the United States upon return. The current system of using the three available Outlying Area Reporting Station (OARS) phones is outdated and onerous to access.

“I commend U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the agency’s decision to use Lake of the Woods as a testing ground for new border reporting technologies. This is exciting news for tourists, resorts, and border agents alike and I look forward to a successful pilot program that includes input from our stakeholders so the United States can enhance border security while maintaining a strong local economy,” said Congressman Peterson.

“I’ve long been working to ease the reporting burden for Minnesotans and other tourists who come from around the world to visit Lake of the Woods every year. So I’m very pleased by the decision to move forward with this pilot program, which will improve safety and convenience for travelers and anglers while strengthening our Northern Minnesota economy,” said Senator Franken.

“Tourism and fishing are at the heart of Lake of the Woods’ economy,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Piloting this technology in the Northwest Angle will help make travel safer for both visitors and Minnesotans and ensure that businesses in the outdoor recreation and tourism industries are not hurt because of outdated border technology.”

 “We’re pleased that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has chosen Lake of the Woods to test their new border reporting technologies. This decision will help promote efficient, effective border security, and lays the foundation for its use at other entry points along the Minnesota-Canada border. Effective implementation and utilization will promote an even more robust tourism industry that supports our local economy,” Nolan said.

More details will follow in the coming weeks as the pilot program is set to roll out in June 2017.