Sen. Tester Again Asks for Help on Canadian Border
Montana's entire 545-mile northern border is also part of Canada's southern border. Along that long straight line there are 13 active border crossings (see image above). The U.S.-Canada ports of entry in Montana are small towns such as Roosville, Sweetgrass, Willow Creek, Opheim, Scobey and Del Bonita. Those crossings were closed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have since re-opened...with staff and operating hour restrictions.
The U.S. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee handles funding. Montana Senator Jon Tester has led a bipartisan Congressional group urging that committee to allocate more resources and better staffing for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and to fully re-open the ports of entry to pre-pandemic hours.
Montana Democrat Tester and Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota said there were not enough personnel at the borders, and current operating hours needed to be expanded. They wrote: "It is essential to have ports of entry open to accommodate lawful travel between the United States and Canada. As we turn the corner on the pandemic, the subcommittee should ensure that CBP has the necessary resources to resume pre-pandemic operating hours at northern border ports of entry."
Tester has previously urged the Biden Administration and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to fully re-open the border. Late last year, the U.S. re-opened the border to vaccinated travelers, but the hours of operation and staffing were less than before the pandemic.
In a news release, Tester mentioned the economic value of an open border to Montana. The Canadian Trade Commissioner noted recently that on the ranking of economic transactions, Canada usually buys more from Montana than the next six states combined.