Despite lobbying from Minnesota's most powerful politicians, federal customs officials are sticking with their plan to cut back border-crossing hours at two ports of entry on the Canadian border in northwest Minnesota.
The Roseau port, now open from 8 a.m. to midnight, will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Lancaster port, now open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. most of the year, with hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months from Victoria Day to Labor Day.
Customs officials said nighttime border traffic would be routed to 24-hour ports at Warroad and Pembina, N.D., about 20 to 25 miles from Roseau and Lancaster, respectively.
Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement Wednesday he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.
CBP's decision "ignores the appeals made by myself and numerous other stakeholders, who detailed the negative effects of these curtailments on citizens, businesses and the region's overall vitality.
"CPB's excuse of 'limited CPB resources' is ridiculous, coming from one of the world's largest law enforcement organizations with over 60,000 employees and a $13 billion annual budget," he added. "The action is a deplorable example of placing the convenience of a public service provider ahead of the needs of the people it is supposed to serve."
Dayton, along with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, all DFLers, had urged the border agency not to change the hours, arguing that border crossings are a part of everyday life in the area. In particular, they argued, the cutbacks could affect access to medical facilities in the region, as well as to major employers, such as Polaris Industries in Roseau.
In a news release, CBP said the new hours are based on "current and historical vehicle crossing data and limited CBP resources. This slight reduction of hours will allow staff to be reallocated to nearby ports of entry that have a need for additional staffing during busy times with higher traffic volumes."
Travelers should plan ahead and adjust their travel to the new hours of operation, the agency said.