Bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Amendment “Leahy1” Prohibits Border Crossing Fees to Promote Commerce and Support American Border Communities
May 9, 2013
From the Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744)
Bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Amendment “Leahy1” Prohibits Border Crossing Fees
to Promote Commerce and Support American Border Communities
Whether they’re from northern Vermont or southwest Texas, Americans living in border communities know their lives are interwoven with their neighbors across the border. Our children play sports across the border. Our fire departments respond across the border. Our neighbors come across the border to shop, eat, and contribute to our local economy. Imposing a fee and tax to travel back and forth would put a barrier between neighbors and hurt American communities.
The Senate Judiciary Committee adopted this amendment during today’s markup.
What the Amendment Does
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) included in the administration’s budget proposal a request for appropriations to study charging admission for pedestrians and passenger vehicles crossing land borders into the United States. This bipartisan amendment prevents the creation of a border crossing fee at land ports of entry along the Southern and Northern borders.
Why It Is Needed
- Americans living in border communities are linked to their neighbors by commerce, friendship, and by family. For those who live in border communities and travel back and forth to visit friends, to shop, or to go to work, a border crossing fee would painfully tax their everyday lives.
- A border crossing fee would also tax our economy. Canada is the United States’ number one trading partner. Some 300,000 Canadians cross to visit the United States every day, spending about $235 million. In 2006, Canadians made 642,400 visits to Vermont alone, spending $115 million while they were there. In a recent year Canada bought 44 percent of Vermont’s exports, amounting to $4.9 billion and 15,700 jobs. Vermont and other border states have a mutually prosperous relationship with Canada, and we should do all we can to preserve this relationship.
- A border crossing fee would make Border Patrol agents “toll collectors instead of law enforcement.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), May 9, 2013]
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