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CBP may consider closing more ports earlier

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NORTH DAKOTA (WDAZ-TV) -- More Border Crossings.

Keeping border crossings open are no longer just a problem for Minnesotans.

A North Dakota fishing hub could soon feel the effects.

WDAZ's Kenneth Chase explains why Customs and Border Protection says additional ports of entry could be in jeopardy.

The latest numbers available from the U.S. Department of Transportation say three ports near Devils Lake have thirty or fewer cars coming through each day, some at just a handful.

And earlier this week, Customs and Border Protection Officials told a Minnesota crowd these ports could be next.

Lucas Wakefield, Ramsey County Commissioner, "That could stifle some of the tourism coming into North Dakota from Manitoba and those areas."

Fishing is a way of life in Devils Lake.  

"Canadian tourism is certainly a part of that and so I think that moving forward we need to be looking for ways to increase access," says Wakefield.

But as CBP looks to move resources from busier ports in Minnesota, some say the feds should take a closer look in North Dakota.

A reduction in hours could result in cutting off access to the Lake Region.

"It's akin to turning a thoroughfare street into a cul de sac. And then wondering why there would be fewer vehicles moving through that area," says Wakefield.

But CBP says there is no easy solution and they're having a tough time hiring staff to man ports in North Dakota.

About 1 in 100 applicants have a shot at becoming part of the team.

"It was difficult to incentivize people to go, quality people especially to go and staff those portals in the middle of nowhere simply by paying them extra to do so," says Wakefield.

As the feds, "It's really important that we take a really close eye on what the potential drawbacks of a decision like that is versus the benefits of costs savings for the federal government," says Wakefield.