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Higgins seeks clarity on northern border restrictions

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Wed, Mar 18th 2020 02:50 pm

Congressman wants clear answers on crossing procedures, CBP officer protections, staffing levels & exceptions for essential personnel

With news of a binational plan for strict restrictions at the border between the United States and Canada, Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, is asking U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide clear details on the procedures for necessary border crossings and other information related to staffing levels and protections. 

“While we are in the midst of a public health crisis that requires extraordinary measures, we also need clear guidance to ensure that people who are working the border are safe, staffing levels are adequate, and those who are critical to addressing this outbreak can cross the border in the most efficient way possible,” Higgins said. 

In response to recent changes at the border, implemented by the Canadian government, and with the expectation of additional restrictions, Higgins, who serves as a co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, sent a letter to CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan yesterday seeking answers.

Since the congressman’s letter was sent yesterday, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced joint plans to close the border to nonessential travel. There are limited details at this time on the restrictions.

Over the past week, Higgins’ office has heard from hospitals who have medical staff living in Canada. Higgins wants to ensure there is a clear policy for efficient crossings for emergency personnel, especially given the president’s recent action to exclude New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program.

Higgins, who has been a vocal advocate for adequate staffing levels at the northern border, is also asking about plans to protect CBP officers and adequately staff the border to accommodate the added measures which will be in place at Land Ports of Entry.

Higgins will continue to provide the public with further information as it becomes available.

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