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Letter: Border crossing decision unacceptable

To the editor,

I would like to thank our congressional and state delegates who have been working hard on keeping the current hours for our Lancaster port of entry. The bipartisan support behind us is awesome. All of these delegates are behind us fighting to keep the current hours.

You'd sure think with all these officials and virtually all of the public opposing Customs and Border Protection's decision that they'd see the light and realize they made a horrible decision.

Also, I appreciate all the community members in northwest Minnesota and southern Manitoba who have called and written letters in opposition to the new proposed hours.

As Gov. Dayton put it perfectly, the "excuse of 'limited CBP resources' is 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."

Clearly, Area Port Director Jason Schmelz and his fellow CBP management have a pass-the-buck management mentality. They have a huge staffing issue and their way of fixing it is to cut hours to free up staff.

If this was at my business, I'd realize I've got a problem and try to fix it internally, not just pass the buck onto the communities along the border. Could this be a reason why more locals are not applying for these positions?

In closing, this decision is a huge public relations mess for Schmelz and all of CBP's management.

Why does Schmelz, in North Dakota, get to make a decision for all the communities and businesses in northwest Minnesota? The system is broken if that is allowed to

happen. Do you not think even a reduction in traffic will be completely detrimental to our economy?

They have lost the trust and respect of people in their ability to do their job. The damage that is being created in all the communities in northwest Minnesota, just to free up some staff, is completely unacceptable.

Charlie Bernstrom

Lancaster, Minn.

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