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Higgins: Canada's exception to allow crossings to visit family is first step

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Tue, Jun 9th 2020 11:40 am

Congressman pushes for broader exemptions, called for expansion of essential travel to include crossings related to family, property or business interests

Congressman Brian Higgins, co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, responded Monday to an announcement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau granting permission to cross the border to visit family, calling the policy change “an incremental step forward.”

Higgins added, “Residents of the U.S. and Canada have become accustomed to crossing the border like neighbors in other communities cross the street. We cross to visit family, vacation, shop and eat. A gradual return to a seamless flow of people across the border as communities reopen, along with necessary safety precautions to continue to lower exposure to COVID-19, will be an important component of economic recovery for both nations.”

Higgins recently wrote a letter to U.S. and Canadian leaders requesting an expansion of essential travel allowances to include:

Travel safely to visit family;

Travel to manage individuals’ legitimate business interests; and

Travel to inspect, secure and/or manage personal property.

Trudeau announced an exception to allow for people to enter Canada to visit family if they agree to a two-week quarantine. In his remarks, Trudeau said, “This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child or mom and dad. We hear that. That’s why we are bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada. I want to be clear though, anyone entering the country will be required to quarantine for 14 days.”

The existing binational border restrictions, put in place as a result of the global pandemic, are currently set to expire June 22.

In the meantime, Higgins is also advocating for New York state and the U.S. government to resolve the ongoing situation instituted in February that disallows New York residents from enrolling in or renewing enrolment in Trusted Traveler programs such as NEXUS.

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