WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Steve Daines and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik are stepping up pressure on the Biden Administration to ease restrictions on the closed Canadian border.
The border has been shut down since last year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and it was recently announced the closures would stay in effect until July 21.
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The Restoring the Northern Border Travel Act would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand the list of "essential" cross-border travel within the next 10-days.
That would include allowances for individuals traveling to visit immediate, or extended family members who are U.S. citizens or a "permanent resident".
Right now, many families have been unable to cross the border from Montana and other states into the Canadian provinces, leading to separations lasting more than a year, or led to expensive flights and quarantines in Canada.
Other changes would allow individuals to cross if they own or lease property in the United States, travel for business and site visits, or traveling to board a flight at a U.S. airport.
“It is unacceptable that President Biden continues to ignore the needs of Montanans and keeps the northern border closed while supporting the southern border being wide open to a surge of illegal immigrants and a flood of illegal drugs into our Montana communities,” Sen. Daines said in a statement released to MTN News.
“Access to the northern border is critical for Montana jobs, agriculture, and tourism," Sen. Daines continued. "We cannot wait any longer for Biden to do what’s right—it’s time to reopen the northern border for Montana.”
Sen. Stefanik criticized the Biden Administration for its "inability to establish a plan" to restore cross-border traffic, saying the bill will allow families to "reconnect" and restore economic partnerships.
The bill calls on the Administration to begin developing a plan to fully restore non-essential border crossings within 20-days.
A news release from Sen. Daines notes the expanded list would include:
- An individual traveling to visit a member of their immediate or extended family who is a United States citizen or permanent resident.
- An individual traveling to visit property they own or lease within the United States.
- An individual traveling to the United States to attend business meetings or site-visits.
- An individual traveling directly to a United States airport to board a flight to a United States or international destination.