ST. STEPHEN, N.B. — New Brunswickers concerned about impending changes at remote border crossings have an opportunity to attend American information sessions this week.
As of March 15, U.S. Customs plans to eliminate 24-hour staffing at remote ports of entry in favor of new enhanced security systems, which include cameras, monitors, sensors and locked gates after regular hours.
U.S. Customs recently announced there will be information sessions to answer any questions Maine residents might have about the changes. Since the enhancements are an American initiative, Canadian officials will not be holding similar meetings, says Donna Labonte, a spokeswoman for Canada Customs and Revenue, but Canadian citizens are being invited to the U.S. meetings.
Labonte noted, however, border security negotiations have yet to be finalized with U.S. Customs.
Officials on both sides of the border are trying to find ways to decrease impediments to the quick flow of trade while increasing security, Ms. Labonte added. That includes keeping the crossings at Woodstock and Centreville open 24 hours a day.
Public meetings have been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Houlton Town Office building, and at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Edmunds Conference Center at Northern Maine Technical College in Presque Isle. A third meeting is expected to be added in northern Washington County.
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