A proposal by the United States’ Department of Homeland Security to collect a fee from those entering its borders at land crossings sparked instant backlash when news of it spread on Monday. Here’s what Canadians need to know about the proposed U.S. border fee.
1) Study Proposal
The U.S. DHS 2014 budget proposed to “conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee for both land border pedestrians and passenger vehicles along the northern and southwest borders of the United States.”
The fee proposal is an attempt by the department to cover the country’s increasing security costs. This could means fees for those entering and exiting the country from Mexico and Canada.
2) No Numbers Yet
US border crossing fee for Canadian cars? 75% said yes to a poll.#morons
— KB (@kbtweetsalot) April 23, 2013
Exactly how much would be charged and whether it would be for one or both ways it yet to be decided. The proposal is just for a study, there’s no concrete plan to charge travellers yet. The proposal is also calling for an increase to the current fees charged to those entering by air and water.
3) Canadian Officials Will Fight It
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade says they will fight against any proposed border crossing fee, saying it’s bad for business.
“Canadian officials will vigorously lobby against this proposal,” said department spokeswoman Emma Welford in an email to CBC News.
“We believe that any fee on travellers crossing the Canada-U.S. border would be bad for travellers and bad for the economy.”
Various officials in the U.S. are also fighting the proposed border crossing fee, with Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democratic congressman from Buffalo, N.Y. saying it was “the absolute last thing we should be doing.”
4) Longest Undefended Border
Canada and the U.S. famously share the longest ‘undefended‘ border in the world, which is only true from a military standpoint – as there is still civilian law enforcement present.
5) Fees for Air Travel
Canadians already pay a ‘security levy’ on airline tickets when travelling abroad. As the National Post reports, in Canada, those charges amount to about $15 for a round-trip domestic flight and upwards of $25 or more on international flights.