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Bipartisan Push Wins Border Hours Reprieve

Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection John Sanders announced his decision to reinstate full hours of operation at the Raymond Port of Entry April 16. Changes to the hours of operations at area border crossings began April 14, with reductions at the Ports of Raymond, Opheim, Scobey and Morgan.

Montana’s congressional delegation played a decisive role in the reinstatement.

Senator Jon Tester addressed a March 5 letter to CBP commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan opposing the reduced hours: “This abrupt decision and lack of feedback from farmers and ranchers, shippers, local communities, and our neighbors in Canada represents a deep misunderstanding of the needs of agricultural producers in rural states like Montana,” said Tester.
Tester met with Mc-Aleenan in person last week.
“It’s a positive development that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reversing course on the Port of Raymond for now,” Tester said. “But this Administration has got to show greater transparency on decisions of this magnitude. Next time they take aim at Montana’s economy, they better show up and listen to folks on the ground first.”
Republicans Senator Steve Daines and Representative Greg Gianforte wrote a March 7 letter to McAleenan opposing the move. They conducted a call with acting CPB commissioner John Sanders April 16.
“Keeping the Raymond Port of Entry open at 24-hour status is a big win for rural Montana and jobs across our state,” Daines said. “I appreciate Acting Commissioner Sander’s understanding that our rural economy strongly depends on trade with Canada, and the ports of Raymond, Morgan, Opheim and Scobey are essential for our farmers and ranchers.”
The Port of Raymond crossing will go back to 24-hour status on April 23. “CBP’s decision is a step in the right direction,” said Daines. “I will continue to work to ensure that CBP listens to Montanans about the importance of leaving these ports open.”
Through April 23, the Port of Raymond will be open 6 a.m. to midnight. Travelers wishing to cross into the United States between midnight and 6 a.m. can do so at Portal, N.D., 108 miles east of Raymond.