05.23.10

Leahy Calls on Napolitano To Close Morses Line Border Crossing

(SUNDAY, May 23, 2010) - Following Saturday’s public meeting in Franklin regarding the Morse’s Line Border Crossing, Senator Patrick Leahy has written to Secretary Janet Napolitano calling for closure of the crossing.  Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told Napolitano that he was prepared to close the port during the Appropriations process if necessary.

May 23, 2010

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary
Unites States Department of Homeland Security Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

Thank you for arranging Saturday’s public meeting in Franklin, Vermont concerning the Morses Line port of entry modernization project, as I requested when you appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 27, 2010.  I am writing to request that the Department of Homeland Security follow the overwhelming public sentiment expressed at that meeting – that the existing port be closed.

The past nine years have seen a dramatic change in the way America protects its borders – and aging ports of entry critical to security and commerce need upgrades.  It is my opinion, and the opinion of all who spoke at the Franklin public meeting, that the Morses Line port is not a critical link in the chain of our nation’s security or commerce.  If it requires a major influx of tax payer funding to ensure the dedicated agents who protect or borders can do their jobs safely, then it is best to close the port and focus on more critical border security needs. 

In addition, the Morses Line port of entry modernization project threatens a multi-generational operational dairy farm owned by the Rainville family.  Though I was pleased Customs and Border Protection worked to reduce the footprint of the port modernization project from 10 acres to 2.2 acres, the process to do so was plagued by communications shortcomings and too little understanding of the value of agricultural land.

I have long believed that enabling cross border trade must be carefully balanced with ensuring our nation’s security.  I also believe that when border security issues are implemented at the local level, we must acknowledge that every community is different.

I appreciate the hard work you and the entire Department of Homeland Security do to balance these complex issues.

I hope this request to close the Morses Line port of entry can be made without any further appropriations from the Federal government. However, as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I stand ready to work with you during the appropriations process to close the port if necessary.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

PATRICK LEAHY
U.S. Senator

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693

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