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2 Minnesota-Canada border crossings will have their hours reduced

It particularly impacts the 100-plus people living in the Northwest Angle.
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What's happening?

U.S Customs and Border Protection is reducing the hours of operation at two Minnesota border crossings into Canada.

The Lancaster and Roseau ports of entry, in northwest Minnesota, will close earlier in the evenings as a result of the change.

There are eight total border crossings between Minnesota and Canada.

What are the new times?

Starting Jan. 7, the Port of Lancaster will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer.

Currently, it's open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. year-round.

The Port of Roseau meanwhile, will now be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year-round. Currently it's open 8 a.m. to midnight.

Where will travelers go if it's closed?

The nearest other POE to the Roseau crossing is in Warroad, about 21 miles east. That's a 24-hour crossing.

For those using the Lancaster POE, they'll have to go 30 miles west to the 24-hour crossing at Pembina, North Dakota.

Why is the CBP doing this?

Michele James, director of field operations in Seattle, said the decision was taken "based upon current and historical vehicle crossing data" as well as "limited CBP resources."

"This slight reduction of hours will allow staff to be reallocated to nearby ports of entry that have a need for additional staffing during busy times with higher traffic volumes," she said.

The CBP says there's been a 19 percent drop in personal and 37 percent drop in commercial vehicles using the Roseau border crossing since 2013, while crossings at Lancaster have dropped a third in the past four years.

Why is Mark Dayton angry?

After the initial plans to reduce the hours were released at the start of November, Gov. Mark Dayton wrote to the CBP director saying it could cause "significant health, safety and economic harm to Minnesotans."

He's particularly unhappy about the changes to the Roseau border hours, because of the implications it has for the 100-150 people living on the Minnesota Northwest Angle who require access to the Roseau Lifecare Medical Center.

These residents need to cross into Canada and back into the U.S. to reach Roseau. But after Jan. 7 they will need to go via Warroad if the Roseau border is closed – adding 25 minutes onto their trip.

Dayton also gave short shrift to the CBP's claims about "limited resources," describing this as "ridiculous, coming from one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations with over 60,000 employees and a $13 billion annual budget."

"The action is a deplorable example of placing the convenience of a public service provider ahead of the needs of the people it is supposed to serve," he said.

"Its decision ignores the appeals made by myself and numerous other stakeholders, who detailed the negative effects of these curtailments on citizens, businesses, and the region’s overall vitality."

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