The Senate Judiciary Committee, on a bipartisan voice vote, Thursday approved legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and cosponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that blocks the creation of a land border crossing fee.
The amendment was Leahy's first to file and be offered to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, which the Judiciary Committee is currently considering. The amendment responds to a request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Obama Administration's budget to study charging admission for pedestrians and passenger vehicles crossing land borders into the United States.
Leahy, who represents one of the ten states that border Canada, said such a fee would deflate thriving commerce that is important to all the Northern Border states, and it would limit cultural interchange.
"Canada is the United States' number one trading partner. Some 300,000 Canadians cross into our country every day and spend nearly $235 million," said Leahy, who earlier this week released a guest column on the issue. "Our nation has always had strong cultural and commercial ties to our neighboring countries, and my amendment would protect these important relationships."