02.17.19

Peters Tours Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today toured the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, where he saw bridge operations firsthand and heard from border security officials on the challenges facing our Northern Border.

“Michigan is home to some of the busiest international trade crossings in the country,” said Senator Peters. “As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, one of my top priorities is ensuring that our Northern Border is secure while supporting the billions in trade and commerce that cross our borders every day. It was great to see how the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge supports industries from steel to forestry to tourism, and I thank border officials for showing me around today and for all they do to keep our country safe.”

Peters has made strengthening and securing Michigan’s ports of entry a top priority. Last December, Peters helped author bipartisan legislation that was signed into law to conduct a comprehensive review assessing the strengths and potential vulnerabilities of the nation’s ports of entry in order to better facilitate international commerce while simultaneously targeting illegal activity. The United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a threat and operational analysis of ports of entry, including:

  • Current and potential threats posed by individuals and organized groups seeking to exploit security vulnerabilities at ports of entry or to unlawfully enter the United States through such ports of entry;
  • Methods and pathways used to exploit security vulnerabilities at ports of entry;
  • Improvements needed at ports of entry to prevent the unlawful movement of people, illicit drugs, and other contraband across our borders;
  • Improvements needed to enhance travel and trade facilitation and reduce wait times at ports of entry;
  • Processes conducted at ports of entry that do not require law enforcement training that could be fulfilled with non-law enforcement staff; and
  • Improvements needed during secondary inspections to meet food safety standards.

Peters also supported the bipartisan border security funding bill with provisions included at his urging to hire additional Customs and Border Protection Officers to staff ports of entry. The legislation, which passed last week and that the President signed into law Friday, also included more than $560 million for inspection technology at ports of entry to better detect illegal drugs like opioids. Earlier this month, Peters sent a letter to the House and Senate conference committee members pressing for the bill to include investments in personnel, training and technology to secure our borders and support the safe and lawful movement of international commerce.

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