July 17, 2013

Collins: Border crossing fees are now unlikely

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — A Senate subcommittee has approved a bill that expressly prohibits funding any study looking at the feasibility or cost of imposing a border crossing fee on people entering the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said.

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In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, cars from Canada line up to cross into the United States, in Blaine, Wash., at Peace Arch State Park. A U.S. Senate subcommittee has approved a bill that expressly prohibits funding any study looking at the feasibility or cost of imposing a border crossing fee on people entering the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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In this Monday, June 1, 2009 file photo, traffic lines up to enter the United States at the Bridge of the Americas port-of-entry in El Paso, Texas. A Senate subcommittee has approved a bill that expressly prohibits funding any study looking at the feasibility or cost of imposing a border crossing fee on people entering the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said. (AP Photo/Victor Calzada, File)

The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday approved the department's fiscal year 2014 funding bill, with language prohibiting the study of a border crossing fee.

Collins, who grew up in northern Maine near the Canadian border, said border community residents routinely go back and forth between countries to work, dine, shop, visit family or attend church.

"Any fee, no matter how small, would have a negative impact on the day-to-day commerce and travel between border communities," Collins said in a statement. "It would unduly penalize families who have relatives on either side of the border. In addition, it would damage relations between the United States and the neighbors that are vital trading partners."

Collins and other members of Congress from northern border states strongly objected last spring when the Department of Homeland Security, in its 2014 budget proposal, asked permission to study the possibility of a fee at land border crossings.

The fiscal bill approved by the subcommittee must now be approved by the full Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled to consider it on Thursday.

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