BREAKING: Following Aggressive Tester Push, Biden Administration to Open Northern Land Border to Vaccinated Travelers
Senator: “I’m glad that the Biden Administration listened to me and the thousands of Montanans who fought back against this shortsighted policy”
Bowing to an aggressive push by U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Biden Administration announced today it is finally reopening the northern land border with Canada to vaccinated travelers beginning in early November.
“Montanans depend on cross-border trade and travel to support our businesses and keep our communities connected, and the Biden Administration’s decision to keep the northern border closed has unnecessarily hurt our economy,” Tester said. “I’m glad that the Biden Administration listened to me and the thousands of Montanans who fought back against this shortsighted policy, and I will continue pushing to make sure that the northern border re-opens as quickly and as safely as possible so that families and businesses on both sides of the border can continue to fully rebound from this crisis.”
Tester led the charge to re-open the border to fully vaccinated travelers and repeatedly slammed the White House for ignoring the science and the needs of families and communities who depend on the northern border to meet their bottom lines and stay connected to friends and family.
Tester began calling for the border to fully re-open in May, urging the Biden Administration 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."
Tester denounced the White House for repeatedly punting on re-opening the land border. Last week, after an announcement that the White House would allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the U.S. by air while continuing to restrict “nonessential travel” across the land border indefinitely, Tester questioned the Administration’s medical justifications for the uncoordinated reopening and demanded it fully open the northern border to all vaccinated travelers.
Timeline of Tester actions to re-open the northern border with Canada:
May 19 – Tester pens letter to Biden Administration urging it to re-open the border
July 21 – Tester writes letter to Department of Homeland Security calling for the agency to coordinate with Canada to re-open the border quickly and safely
August 20 – Tester denounces Biden Administration for dragging its feet, saying “I urge the Biden Administration to reverse this disappointing decision and re-open the northern border as quickly as possible to vaccinated Canadian travelers so that both of our economies can continue to fully rebound."
September 17 – Tester leads letter demanding President Biden allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to the U.S. through land ports of entry
September 20 – Tester blasts the Biden Administration for keeping the border closed for at least another month
October 1 – Tester questions the Administration’s medical justifications for the uncoordinated reopening and calls to fully open the northern border to all vaccinated travelers immediately
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.