U.S. Border Guards Moving from Canadian to Mexican Borders, Delays Feared

Border agents by the hundreds from across the U.S. are being temporarily transferred south ahead of the busy summer tourism season, worrying those along the northern border who rely on cross-border commerce — including U.S. innkeepers, shop owners and restaurateurs who fear their Canadian customers could be caught in backups at border crossings.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says more than 700 northern border agents from land, sea and airports are in the process of being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they will help their southern counterparts handle the influx of families and unaccompanied children from Central America.

The move comes as businesses gear up for summer, when tens of thousands of Canadian tourists contribute to the economies of communities in border states and elsewhere deeper inside the United States. Since U.S.-Canada border security was ramped up shortly after the 9/11 attacks, local and state officials have worried heightened security could hurt trade and the free flow of people back and forth across the 8,891-kilometre border.

Last week, 13 bipartisan members of Congress from six northern border states wrote acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about their concerns the plans could hurt cross-border travel and commerce.

The letter was signed by four members of Congress from New York, four from Michigan, two from New Hampshire, and one each from Minnesota, Washington and North Dakota.