Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), and Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas requesting an immediate report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Congress with a plan for operationalizing new border procedures once reopened.
President Biden extended the closure of land borders until October 21, at the earliest. Northern border states are especially impacted by the United States-Canada border closure. Currently, Customs and Border Protection does not appear to have a plan in place or the resources necessary to execute a safe reopening without causing tremendous delays at land ports of entry (LPOE). This is a major problem for members of the commercial trade sector, who need to know whether DHS will assign appropriate resources to maintain adequate levels of security and efficiency so that all LPOEs can operate successfully.
“The closure of our northern border impacts Americans and Canadians alike, and the impact is especially felt by Minnesotans like those who live in the Northwest Angle. Between the halt to trade, the disruption to the tourism industry, and the separation of our citizens, this closure has been devastating,” said Emmer.
“The impact is impossible to quantify exactly, but prior to the pandemic, cross-border trade in goods totaled nearly $720 billion. In fact, 90 percent of the Canadian population lives within one hundred miles of the border, making Canada our country’s largest inbound travel market. It’s safe to say, our country has suffered because of this border closure,” Emmer continued.
“The ongoing closure of our northern border continues to have detrimental economic and social costs which grow every day the closure remains in place. Our LPOE checkpoints must reopen safely and efficiently, and DHS must be prepared for this eventuality,” Emmer concluded.
“Biden’s continued border closure ignores science, logic, and the economic hardship of border communities across the country. From the Northwest Angle in my district all the way down to Marshall, I consistently hear from communities in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District about the need to more appropriately facilitate the travel of people, goods, and services with our state’s closest trading partner. The Biden Administration has now inexplicably lifted the ban on travel for international visitors by air, while simultaneously extending the ban on travel by land, without reason. I call on President Biden to urgently respond to the needs of communities along the northern border and ensure land ports of entry are adequately resourced so regular commerce can return once again,” said Fischbach.
“I was greatly disappointed when President Biden once again extended the restrictions on land travel from Canada. The border communities we represent are unfairly suffering as the Administration continues to prevent non-essential land travel all while allowing air travel. Hopefully, by requesting an operationalizing report on border procedures from the Department of Homeland Security, the Administration will recognize the error of their ways and end these restrictions in October,” said Stauber.
Read the letter here.