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U.S. congressman asks Biden to fully reopen Canadian border by July 4

TORONTO — As vaccine rollout continues to ramp up in Canada and the United States, some American politicians are calling on the Biden administration to reopen the Canada-U.S. land border by this summer.

In a letter addressed to U.S. President Joe Biden, Rep. Brian Higgins of New York asked that Biden work with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “a partial reopening of the Northern Border by Memorial Day of this year with a full re-opening by July 4.”

Higgins, who also chairs the congressional Northern Border Caucus, wrote that the current border restriction between the two countries “tears at the fabric of our community and is a critical problem for individuals, families, and businesses.”

“Given the economic and social costs the border closure has had on the region, we must prioritize efforts to expand essential traveler exceptions and plan for an incremental re-opening now,” Higgins wrote.

The request comes after Biden announced last week that every American who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one by the end of May.

Higgins told CTV News’ Washington correspondent Richard Madan that vaccination numbers should align with the lifting of public health measures, including border restrictions.

“Sometimes you have to push, and there’s a lot of priorities. My job is to make opening the U.S.-Canadian border a number 1 priority for this administration,” Higgins said.

Higgins previously co-signed a letter with 23 other members of Congress in January, asking that the Biden administration start developing a plan to reopen the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel.

However, Canada says it is too soon.

A top official with the Prime Minister’s Office told CTV News “we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not there yet.”

Trudeau and Biden had their first face-to-face virtual meeting on Feb. 23, where the two leaders agreed to prioritize the fight against COVID-19 and economic recovery, among other issues, in a new “Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership.”

Details of the partnership include “taking a coordinated approach based on science and public health criteria when considering measures to ease Canada-U.S. border restrictions in the future.” However, neither Biden nor Trudeau have provided a timeline on the matter.

The Canada-U.S. border has remained closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions have been renewed every month since, with the current extension on border restrictions set to expire March 21, 2021.

Under the restrictions, tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, although trade and commerce are exempted as are trips by certain family members and loved ones who can make a case on compassionate grounds to be allowed into Canada from the U.S. and other countries, contingent on conditions including mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

 

Source : https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/u-s-congressman-asks-biden-to-fully-reopen-canadian-border-by-july-4-1.5342481

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