Tester Statement on Official Reopening of Canadian Border to Vaccinated Travelers
Senator: “The closure of the northern border has hurt Montana businesses and families for far too long, and I’m glad to see the Biden Administration answering my calls to reopen the border to vaccinated Canadians.”
Following his months-long push for the reopening of the northern land border, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security officially reopening the United States-Canadian land border to vaccinated Canadian travelers:
"The closure of the northern border has hurt Montana businesses and families for far too long, and I'm glad to see the Biden Administration answering my calls to reopen the border to vaccinated Canadians," said Tester. "Montana's border towns depend on cross-border trade and travel to support small business and keep folks connected. This reopening is a great step towards full economic recovery, and I'll keep pushing the administration to do right by Montanans."
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 month, 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.