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Gianforte, Daines Secure CBP Reversal to Proposed Service Cuts

May 24, 2019
Press Release

Following continued, consistent efforts from Congressman Greg Gianforte and U.S. Senator Steve Daines, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced yesterday that it backed off of its initial proposal to cut hours of operation at four Montana ports of entry. 

“CBP’s initial heavy-handed approach ignored Montanans and produced a wrongheaded proposal. Working together, we brought them to the table and had them listen to Montanans describe the harm CBP’s proposed cuts would cause,” Gianforte said. “CBP changed its course, maintaining around-the-clock service at the Raymond port and reducing cuts in service to others. I’ll continue working with folks along the Hi-Line to hold CBP accountable and to improve operations at our Montana ports.”

“I’m glad to see CBP listen to the concerns of our local communities and reverse their decision to change the hours of the ports of entry,” Daines said. “I’ll continue working with CBP and the local communities to find solutions that don’t harm Montana’s rural economy.”

On February 28, CBP officials released its plan to cut hours of service at four Montana ports of entry, effective April 14:

  • Port of Raymond to 8 a.m. to midnight, 18 hours per day
  • Port of Morgan to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round, nine hours per day
  • Port of Opheim to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round, nine hours per day
  • Port of Scobey to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round, ten hours per day

Yesterday, CBP officials announced its revised plan, effective June 1:

  • Port of Raymond maintains current 24-hour service
  • Port of Morgan to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. year-round, ten hours per day
  • Port of Opheim to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. year-round, ten hours per day
  • Port of Scobey to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. year-round, ten hours per day

CBP also affirmed it will remain flexible with communities having special events and will continue to have processes to allow for emergency vehicle crossing.

Leaders in impacted communities praised Gianforte and Daines’ effective and ongoing efforts.

“Greg and Steve continue to fight for the needs of our agricultural producers in eastern Montana. With CBP reducing hours at points of entry with our Canadian neighbors, our farmers, ranchers, shippers, and tourism-driven businesses will be negatively impacted immediately. Greg and Steve understand that our small rural communities can’t survive without strong agricultural support. I appreciate Greg and Steve standing up to CBP, pushing back to keep our ports open, and having CBP reverse its course.” – Becky Erickson, mayor of Glasgow

“I want to thank Greg and Steve for all their hard work in bringing folks together in Glasgow and ensuring CBP actually listened people along the Hi-Line. I’m disappointed with the reduction in summer hours at the ports of Morgan, Opheim, and Scobey, but thanks to the efforts of Greg, Steve, and Montanans who made their voices heard, the reductions are better than what CBP originally proposed. CBP reversing its decision to eliminate around-the-clock operations at the Port of Raymond is a win. We’ll stay on top of this, and I know Greg and Steve are on it.” – John Brendan, former Montana state senator (Scobey)

“On behalf of the Province of Saskatchewan, I would like to thank Congressman Gianforte and the other elected officials in Montana for their advocacy on this important file. We will continue to work together to ensure our borders remain open for farmers, businesses and travelers in both countries.” – Scott Moe, premier of Saskatchewan

BACKGROUND:

On Tuesday, May 21, Gianforte and Daines sent a letter to John Sanders, acting commissioner of CBP, opposing cuts in hours of operation at four ports of entry in Montana, the ports of Morgan, Opheim, Raymond, and Scobey. Their letter follows CBP listening sessions in Glasgow, Malta, Plentywood, and Scobey, which Gianforte and Daines secured commitments as part of their work with CBP officials.

On Thursday, May 2, Gianforte and Daines led a meeting in Glasgow that included officials with CBP, local Montana leaders, business owners, and Canadian officials. During the meeting, Montanans emphasized the importance of northern ports of entry for farmers, ranchers, and business owners across eastern Montana.

After the two sent letters in March and April to the acting commissioner of CBP, Gianforte and Daines secured a reversal from CBP, restoration of around-the-clock operations at the Port of Raymond, and commitments from the agency that it would conduct listening sessions dedicated to listening to Montanans.