Tester to Department of Homeland Security: It’s Time to Fully Re-open the Northern Border

Senator: “I am concerned that this [uncoordinated reopening] will unfairly impact Americans and cause confusion along the United States-Canadian border.”

In light of the Canadian government announcing its plan to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border for vaccinated U.S. citizens on August 9th, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate with Canadian officials and fully reopen the U.S. border for trade and travel into the U.S. on the same date. Today, the Department announced that the U.S. will continue to restrict nonessential travel into the country until at least August 21st.

“I write today to urge the Department of Homeland Security to work with Canadian officials to develop a coordinated plan to fully reopen the United States-Canada border and to express concerns about the Department’s recent decision to continue restrictions on nonessential travel,” wrote Tester to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “This uncoordinated reopening will allow Americans to travel to Canada, but will restrict Canadians-even those who are fully vaccinated-from accessing American businesses, fully restarting trade, and seeing family members on the other side of the border. I am concerned that this will unfairly impact Americans and cause confusion along the United States-Canada border.”

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.

“I urge the Administration to work with Canadian officials to ease travel restrictions and coordinate the full reopening of the border in a safe, fair, and efficient manner. I stand ready to help ensure the Department has the tools and resources it needs to ensure that border officials are prepared to safely handle the increased trade and travel across the border,” Tester continued.

The easing of travel restrictions is a result of the increased vaccination rates in both countries and the continued work of public health officials on both sides of the border. Reopening the border will allow both nations to resume critical trade and travel necessary to the full economic recovery of both Montana and Canada from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tester began calling for the border to fully re-open in May, writing in a letter to the Biden Administration that “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.

Read Tester’s full letter to Secretary Mayorkas HERE.