Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-NY-27, has joined a bipartisan group to call on the Biden administration to work with the Canadian government to develop a cooperative plan to reduce cross-border travel restrictions.
“Reopening our northern border will have a direct impact on improving our local economy and allow for businesses and key industries relying on cross-border travelers to receive a much-needed boost,” he said. “In addition to injecting needed dollars into our struggling local economy, opening the border is of great personal concern for family members who have been separated for almost a year and property owners who have been unable to maintain or even check on their homes.”
The letter, signed by 24 representatives, calls for the Biden administration to develop a binational plan to cooperatively reopen the northern border. It identifies five key actions that need to be taken:
√ Establish a Bilateral Plan for Restoring Travel – Both U.S. states and Canadian provinces have created extensive frameworks for reopening their respective economies based on public health metrics and criteria identified by public health experts. While these have guided reopening decisions in their respective territories, the U.S. and Canadian governments have yet to work collaboratively to use their existing frameworks to develop guidance for reopening the U.S.-Canadian border.
√ Prioritize Vaccines and Testing for All CBP Staff – Agents and staff of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) work on the frontlines to protect American interests and citizens. We need to ensure they have a continued supply of necessary PPE and that eligibility for vaccinations is expanded beyond its current level of only personnel within a 200-mile radius of a Veterans Affairs hospital.
√ Allow for Families to Safely Reunite – Since the travel restrictions were first implemented, Canada has expanded exemptions to allow family members and extended family members to enter Canada. However, the U.S. has yet to offer a similar procedure for land border crossings.
√ Develop a Policy for Property Owners – Individuals who own property in Canada have been unable to travel by car to their homes to conduct maintenance and collect necessary belongings, despite the ability to implement safe procedures such as a negative COVID-19 test before traveling and implementing quarantine guidance.
√ Ensure Reciprocal Access to Transit through Boundary Waters – During the pandemic, Canadian boaters and boat tour operators have enjoyed access to U.S. waters so long as they did not dock at a U.S. port. U.S. boaters have not had the same reciprocal treatment from Canadian authorities. This has particularly harmed the U.S. boat tour industry, which has been unable to conduct unrestricted tours resulting in lost revenues.
“The Biden administration has indicated through an executive order that they are pursuing a plan to open the U.S.-Canadian Border safely. I urge them to work collaboratively with the Canadian government to develop an actionable plan that puts a stop to the endlessly extended travel restrictions and uncertainty for thousands of businesses, cross-border families and American homeowners,” Jacobs said.