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Two N.D. border crossings to get more staffing

GRAND FORKS -- Two North Dakota border crossings will receive additional staffing.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., announced that the Portal and Pembina crossings are two of 44 ports across the country that will split 2,000 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Funding for those positions was provided for in a recently passed appropriations act.

How many officers are being allocated in North Dakota or when they would be hired remains unclear. Efforts to contact CBP officials Monday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Cramer said in a phone interview that the CBP has been somewhat “tight-lipped” about staffing levels, but he said the agency will likely have discussions with each port. Other cities that will see staffing boosts include New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

More than 850,000 personal vehicles, 400,000 trucks and 1,600 buses crossed the North Dakota-Canadian border in 2012, Cramer said in a news release. Among those crossings is Pembina, which is due north of Grand Forks on Interstate 29.

The CBP said in its own news release that the additional staff will help aid border security and “will reduce wait times, and help speed the lawful flow of goods and people into the nation.”

“Anything that creates more efficiency in the border crossing is good for the economy,” Cramer said.

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