As part of their proposed fiscal year 2014 budget, the Department of Homeland Security is looking to study the feasibility of imposing a fee to cross the border. Congressman Bill Owens, who is co-Chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, strongly opposes the measure and issued the following statement:
"Imposing a fee to cross the border is a bad idea, plain and simple," Owens said. "I represent a number of communities that depend on Canadian travelers and investment to support local businesses and job growth. Instead of adding an additional barrier for commerce, we should be taking more steps to ease the legitimate flow of people and goods between our two countries."
According to the Department's budget submission, the study would assess "the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee." The proposed fee would apply to both the northern and southwest borders of the United States. DHS requires completion of the study within 9 months of enactment, however Congressman Owens vowed to prevent the measure from coming to light.
"I will explore all legislative options available to me to prevent this move in the months ahead," Owens said. "Good work is being done across the district to reduce wait times and promote increased trade with America's neighbor to the North. We should keep focus on these positive developments and set aside any initiatives that would diminish the progress already taking hold."
Owens recently hosted a forum at Clarkson University on initiatives to promote cross-border trade, including the Beyond the Border Initiative and the Regulatory Cooperation Council.