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Members of Congress want answers on Border Patrol activity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wednesday, several members of Congress representing New England sent a letter to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), calling on the agency to provide information on the use of temporary highway checkpoints in northern New England over the past year.

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.), Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., along with U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, both D-N.H., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, signed the letter.

The officials are calling on the agency to provide information on the use of temporary highway checkpoints in northern New England during the past year. In the letter addressed to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, the group questioned whether the lack of arrests stemming from the random stops of vehicles on local highways warranted the harmful economic impact and inconvenience to travelers in the region.

The members cited an instance on Interstate 93 near Woodstock, New Hampshire, during Laconia Motorcycle Week, which did not result in any arrests but caused significant traffic delays in the region, as well as similar occurrences in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and in South Hero, Vermont.

Their letter states, “Ensuring that we maintain effective security along our northern border is a top priority, and we continue to work to secure needed investments in border security operations and technology. We also recognize the difficult job CBP personnel face in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, which are in desperate need of reform. Given our current challenges, our border protection resources must be used strategically and effectively. We have a number of questions regarding the agency’s policies and processes for the implementation of these activities, with a particular focus on temporary highway checkpoints and the consideration of community and economic impact.”

The delegation closed the letter with a series of questions for CBP to respond to and detail justification for the checkpoints.