The Obama administration's proposal to study fees for
crossing the land borders of the United States met a dead end at a congressional
committee today thanks to Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.
The House Homeland Security Committee, by voice vote, approved Higgins' amendment blocking the Department of Homeland Security from studying such a border crossing fee, as Republicans and southern-border Democrats joined with Higgins to oppose the idea.
"This is a huge victory for Western New York and other communities across the Northern Border that rely on the seamless flow of people and goods between the U.S. and Canada to support our economies," Higgins said. "The fee would have put an unfair burden on residents who frequently travel across the border and the cost of the proposed study would have taken resources, already stretched thin, away from significantly more critical security needs."
The committee voted to attach Higgins amendment to a larger bill aimed at bolstering border security both at the northern and southern borders.
And while that larger bill, if passed, would become likely become part of the larger congressional debate on immigration reform, the bipartisan support Higgins won for his amendment makes it more likely that his measure will survive as the bill moves forward.
Collecting a fee on people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border and the U.S.-Mexican border would be counterproductive, other members of the committee said.
"This kind of a fee would be so chilling on an economy that's trying to be on the rebound here," said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich.
(c)2013 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)
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