Tester Blasts Biden Administration’s Decision to Keep Northern Closed for Another Month
Senator: “The Biden Administration needs to follow the science and reopen the border to fully vaccinated Canadians so that both of our economies can continue recovering from this crisis.”
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today blasted the Biden Administration’s decision to keep the northern border with Canada closed for at least another month.
“I am bitterly disappointed to learn that the Biden Administration has once again decided to unnecessarily keep Montana’s northern land border closed for at least another month,” Tester said. “There is no good reason to prohibit fully vaccinated travelers from crossing the border into the U.S. to conduct business and visit friends and family, and this shortsighted decision will hurt folks in Montana and Canada that depend on trade and travel to stay in business. The Biden Administration needs to follow the science and reopen the border to fully vaccinated Canadians so that both of our economies can continue recovering from this crisis.”
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 has led the way in urging the administration to allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to the U.S. through land ports of entry. Last week he led 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.
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.