Gov. Doug Burgum is urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to restore pre-pandemic hours of operation at several ports of entry where hours were reduced in April 2020.
In a letter to CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Burgum noted that of the 10 U.S. ports of entry into North Dakota where hours were reduced, nine of the reductions ranged from four hours to six hours. When the state Tourism Division inquired last week about restoring the pre-pandemic hours of operation, CBP responded that it has no plans to change the hours at any ports of entry in North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Idaho or Washington.
Burgum said that’s unacceptable, noting CBP had just completed a round of adjustments to hours of service in November 2019 when the additional reductions were imposed in April 2020 in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a state that shares a 310-mile border with Canada, North Dakotans depend on access to ports of entry for both leisure and commerce, and any reduction in hours of operation causes significant hardship on the movement of citizens, goods and tourists between our two nations,” Burgum wrote.
The governor urged CBP to restore pre-pandemic hours of operations at the ports of entry immediately and requested a meeting with CBP to discuss the issue.