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Stefanik: U.S. should be prepared to “unilaterally” re-open border to Canada

Public health officials with the Canadian government say they are also stepping up surveillance...
Public health officials with the Canadian government say they are also stepping up surveillance at land border crossings to make sure no essential workers are coming across with COVID-19 symptoms.
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 2:29 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik says if the U.S. and Canada can’t come up with a plan to open the border, the U.S. should take steps to do so on its own.

The border with Canada has been closed for more than a year to most travel, since the start of the pandemic.

Stefanik, who for months has urged the governments of the two countries to work together on reopening the border, is clearly out of patience.

“Our communities cannot afford any further delay or acquiescence – unilateral action to begin reopening the border appears necessary,” she wrote in a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The letter comes following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments reaffirming that Canada will “make our decisions based on the interests of Canadians and not based on what other countries want,” Stefanik noted in a statement.

In the letter, Stefanik calls for immediately “expanding the list of exempted travelers to include family members and extended family members; Canadians with property, boats, or leased campsites in the U.S.; and business representatives with business dealings in the U.S., while beginning a phased reopening to the broader public.

“Additional considerations could include allowing Canadians to cross the border to access U.S. airports to fly to U.S. or international destinations, given they may already fly into the U.S. from within Canada.

“Initiating unilateral actions to reopen the border does not preclude the need to establish a bilateral plan to reopen the border, and in fact should add much-needed urgency to these discussions in order to secure reciprocal treatment for Americans seeking to enter Canada. S

“Such actions appear necessary because further extensions of the existing travel restrictions without a clear plan forward is simply unacceptable for the communities along the northern border.”

“Enough is enough,” Stefanik said in her statement. “The United States needs to do what’s best for the American people and small businesses and reopen the northern border.”

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