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Sen. Schumer, congressmen oppose border crossing fee for Canadians

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Any plan to impose border fees on Canadians who enter the U.S. by foot, car or train will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, according to U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-New York.

Sen. Schumer said during a conference call that the additional money would be a drop in the budget but a “sledgehammer” to upstate economies that rely heavily on tourism money. He highlighted the adverse effect the measure would have on the north country, saying it would put a “serious dent” in the fishing industry in Alexandria Bay.

The proposal, which was included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget as a way to help reduce the national deficit, directs the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct a study that would assess the feasibility of establishing and collecting a border-crossing fee for pedestrians and vehicles along the northern and southwest borders of the United States, according to a statement released after the conference call.

“If this border fee were to become law, we might as well be putting ‘Stop’ signs at every border crossing and train headed for Upstate New York. While the President’s budget has a lot of great ideas, I will never allow Upstate New York’s economy to be sacrificed to raise a buck: these fees are dead on arrival in the Senate,” Sen. Schumer said in the release.

The amount of the fee would be determined by the study.

Reps. Peter F. Welch, D-Vt., and William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, are urging the Department of Homeland Security to abandon the study and have written to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano expressing their opposition to the cross-border fee proposal.

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