Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today called on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to account for the mismanagement of its personnel budget contributing to delays of Northern Border travel after hearing from constituents.
“Our Northern Border communities have suffered enough from the prolonged closure and restriction to travel,” Stefanik said. “There should be no reason for any more delays, and it is unbelievable that CBP is misusing its federal resources at the expense of my constituents. After more than a year of advocacy, Northern Border travel and tourism has finally resumed and begun to return to pre-pandemic levels, and I will continue to provide critical oversight on behalf of our Northern Border communities, families, and economy.”
“This is the latest example of the continuing policy mismanagement of the U.S.-Canadian border by both federal governments. Just as we are getting people traveling again, we are told to prepare for delays. We thank Congresswoman Stefanik and Senator Schumer for their outreach and hope we can avert moving backwards at our Northern Border when we need to keep moving forward,” President of North Country Chamber of Commerce Garry Douglas said.
When Stefanik brought these concerns of her constituents to the highest level, she was informed that CBP was not properly using its resources appropriated to it to return to pre-pandemic levels of travel.
“Constituents I represent have already contacted me with concerns regarding excessive wait times as a result of lower levels of CBP manpower at a number of Ports of Entry across the Northern Border. I remind you that Congress appropriated $650 million for Fiscal Year 2022 to offset any reduction in fee revenue as cross-border travel recovers to its pre-pandemic level, making it inexcusable that CBP failed to appropriately budget these taxpayer resources and must now compensate through reductions in operational capacity. As we continue on the path towards restoring normal travel between the U.S. and Canada, increasing barriers to cross-border travel is unacceptable, especially as a result of negligence in budgetary planning,” Stefanik wrote.
Additionally, Stefanik requested information from CBP to ensure a plan is in place, so these disruptions do not happen again.
Following Stefanik’s advocacy, the Northern Border was reopened in October 2021 after 19 months of travel restrictions. Since then, she has consistently worked to end remaining restrictions and ensure travel can resume smoothly, so travel, tourism, and commerce can continue.
Read the full letter here.