Border patrol backtracks on plan to cut hours on Montana’s northern ports of entry

BILLINGS- Agriculture and business are the reasons the U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided to not cut hours at ports entries on Montana’s northern border, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and Sen. Steve Daines announced jointly Friday.

In February, the CBP announced it was decreasing hours that ports would be open.

However, after meetings with U.S. citizens living along the border, the agency will hold pat with its original schedule, according to a news release from Daines and Gianforte, both Montana Republicans.

The Port of Raymond will be open 24 hours.

Ports in Morgan, Opheim and Scobey will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. year round.

During a telephone news conference, Daines and Gianforte talked about Canadians watching drag racing in Malta and farmers needing to go to Canada for parts.

“If a farmer is harvesting his crop and the tractor breaks down, the combine breaks down and he’s got to go to Regina to get that part, changing the hours here, just a few hours can make the difference,” Gianforte said.

“The Morgan port was the port we had a lot of feedback particularly from the folks in Malta,” Daines said.  “There’s an opportunity, for example, from these races in the summertime to make sure we can have some flexibility for longer hours if needed, so that Malta’s community can benefit from Canadians coming down and spending money in town.”

According to Daines and Gianforte, hours at ports can be extended for special events that help communities economically.