Tester Leads Letter to President Biden to Urge Opening of U.S.-Canada Border to Vaccinated Canadians by October
Senator has repeatedly pushed President to support Montana’s economic recovery by reopening the border
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today sent a letter to President Biden urging the administration to allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to the U.S. through land ports of entry. Noting the economic and familial strains caused by the continued restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border, Tester and seven of his colleagues from states along the Northern Border asked the President to ease travel restrictions before October, create a public plan to reopen land ports of entry to vaccinated Canadians and appoint an interagency lead to spearhead coordination.
"As Senators who represent states along the northern border, our communities have been deeply affected by the restrictions on travel," Tester and his colleagues wrote. "Many of our communities maintain close professional and personal ties with communities in Canada. Canadians come to our states to conduct business, enjoy recreational opportunities, buy goods, and visit friends and family. The restrictions on non-essential travel across the border have greatly curtailed these activities and led to economic and emotional strain in our communities."
"We appreciate the need to prioritize the health and safety of the American public through reasonable restrictions on international travel," the Senators continued. "However, we believe that fully vaccinated Canadians should be allowed to safely travel into the United States via land ports of entry. We urge you to lift these restrictions before October, provide a plan for reopening land ports of entry and appoint an interagency lead on U.S.-Canadian border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) joined Tester's letter.
Since March 2020, travel across the two nations' border has been severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant disruptions to Montana communities, businesses and families. In light of progress in COVID-19 vaccinations in both countries, Canada opened its border to vaccinated Americans last month, but the U.S. government continues to extend its ban on non-essential travel from Canada on a month-to-month basis.
Tester began calling for the border to fully re-open in May, writing in a letter to the Biden Administration "each day that passes without resolution is a hit to family farmers and ranchers, small businesses, and the rural communities along the border," and urging them to work with their Canadian counterparts to quickly and safely open the border. He followed up on that in July with a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pressing the Administration to coordinate with the Canadian reopening in a "safe, fair, and efficient manner."
Montana shares a 545 mile border with Canada and is home to many border towns whose economies rely on Canadian trade and commerce throughout the year. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, Montana exported $692 million in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 42 percent of the state's total goods exports.
You can read Tester's letter HERE.