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Congressman Brian Higgins, co-chair of the northern border caucus, addressed the renewed shutdown of the border between the U.S. and Canada in remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Higgins said, in part, “It’s 395 days since the United States-Canadian border closed, and the closure was just extended another 30 days. Families on both sides of the border have been torn apart, people who love each other – parents, grandchildren – unable to see each other. We need a plan to open the U.S.-Canadian border. With vaccines, face masks and good physical distancing, we can do so safely and successfully.”
The U.S.-Canada border first closed to nonessential travel in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The order has been regularly renewed. It was set to expire this week, but was extended through May 21 – “without a strategy for reopening,” Higgins’ team said.
Higgins has spoken with residents impacted by the existing order, his Canadian government counterparts and members of the Biden administration. He recently requested a meeting with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the issue further.
Higgins, whose Western New York district borders Southern Ontario, has been advocating for the development and deployment of a strategy to safely reopen the border for months. He would like to see the definition of essential traveler to be expanded to include those with family, property or business interests in Canada immediately, and would like the two countries to work toward the goal of a full reopening of the border by July.