WASHINGTON, D.C. — Recently, Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Representatives Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) and with Senators James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), introduced legislation requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s hours of operations at northern ports to match or exceed pre-pandemic hours. The bill’s creation was spurred by CBP’s recent announcement that it will reduce hours at certain northern ports and maintain adjusted hours at others, including Porthill Port of Entry in Idaho.
“The Public Health Emergency is over, and business needs to return to normal for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports of entry along the northern border,” said Fulcher. “I look forward to the permanent restoration of entry hours. The constituents I represent in Idaho deserve nothing less.”
“CBP’s failure to operate America’s northern ports at pre-pandemic hours is detrimental to North Idaho’s economy and way of life,” said Risch. “My legislation would return northern ports to at minimum pre-pandemic hours and allow Idahoans to once again access vital commerce, tourism, trade, travel, and more.”
“Returning ports of entry on America’s northern border to longer, pre-pandemic hours is necessary for commerce and is essential to maintaining national security as a means to prevent illegal immigration,” said Crapo. “North Idaho’s economy relies on the free flow of people and goods between our state and Canada. CBP must extend its operating hours to accommodate the needs on both sides of the border.”
“It’s important to many North Dakotans and our state’s economy that ports of entry with Canada are accessible. CBP recently announced that it will not maintain extended hours at the Maida and Northgate ports of entry. This decision will make it harder to conduct business, particularly for farmers during the summer. Our bill will require CBP to extend operating hours at these northern border crossings and expand trade and cooperation with one of our closest allies,” said Armstrong.
In June, Risch led a bicameral, bipartisan letter, also signed by Senators Crapo, John Tester (D-Mont.), Hoeven, Daines, Cramer, and Representatives Fulcher, Armstrong, Ryan Zinke, and Matt Rosendale, to CBP demanding northern ports expand the hours of operations at ports of entry in Idaho and other northern states or, at minimum, match the operating hours with their adjacent Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) ports. That letter is available here.