While the long-promised immigration compromise in Congress continues its "will they, won't they" dance, there's a war brewing between states at the northern and southern borders of the U.S. over a plan to charge a fee per land crossing. The south, who'd like the fee to, among other things, pay for renovations to the facilities there, are at least tentatively for it. But legislators from northern states are flatly against the idea.
Currently, there's a $2 fee to enter the country via air or sea built into the cost of an international ticket, and some states charge tolls at bridge crossings. But a federal fee to, say, drive across the border from Canada to fill up on gas is another thing. And that's exactly what the Department of Homeland Security has asked permission to study. Legislators representing northern border states, predictably, reacted with immediate protest against the idea. Here's the Associated Press, with more:
"That lone request sparked wide opposition among members of Congress from northern states, who vowed to stop it. A fee, they say, would hurt communities on the border that rely on people, goods and money moving between the U.S. and Canada.
'The imposition of such a toll would act as a barrier to the greater economic integration that we seek, and is the absolute last thing we should be doing to grow our economy,' stated a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano earlier this month signed by 18 Republican and Democratic House lawmakers."
Despite the swift response, the idea isn't very fleshed out, and it doesn't look like any fee, if it's going to happen at all, will be imposed for awhile. There aren't that many details out there on what the theoretical fee would look like: the DHS didn't specify how much they thought it'd cost, or how it'd be collected. That's why they want to study it, something that, given the strong northern opposition, doesn't look like it'll happen this fiscal year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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