NEW YORK (WKBW) — More than two dozen Congressmembers have joined together to call on the United States and Canada to develop guidance on the reopening of the border as well as to expand admissible crossings in the interim.
Congressmembers Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Co-Chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, are leading a push of 29 Congressmembers calling for action.
Canada and the U.S. agreed to extend their agreement to keep their border closed to non-essential travel until July 21 on June 16.
The restrictions were put in place in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of now essential travel includes:
- US citizens returning to the US
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions or work
- Individuals traveling for emergency or government response
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g. cargo drivers)
- Members of the military
In a letter to the Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the group says:
“We are asking that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions. Additionally, we request consideration of any interim measures that may be appropriate to bilaterally ease restrictions on family members and property owners – including those with property on U.S. soil accessible only through cross-border transit - in order to restore the social bond that unites our two nations.”
The group cites the border restrictions have created stress for individuals and the economy.
You can read the full letter here.