This week, Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) announced the introduction of an amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act that would bar the creation of a fee to cross the border. Congressman Bill Owens expressed his opposition to proposed border fees earlier this year and today applauded the Senator's move as a positive step in support of cross-border trade.
"Senator Leahy's work to block proposed border fees is spot on and a reflection of the value Northern Border communities place on our relationship with Canada," Owens said. "I will continue looking for opportunities to introduce similar legislative initiatives in the House and urge my colleagues in the Senate to support Chairman Leahy's amendment."
The proposal to study a border fee was included in the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) FY2014 budget request. Congressman Owens joined with Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and other Members of the House in a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano opposing the study and any new fees.
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.