U.S. border remains closed to Canadians for at least another month

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:31 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WWNY) - Even though Canada is opening its borders to fully vaccinated Americans, the U.S. is extending its restrictions on nonessential travel for another month.

In a Department of Homeland Security document set to go in effect at midnight, the Biden administration orders border crossings from Canada to be limited to essential travel only.

The document extends the restrictions until August 21.

An expert in border policy at Western Washington University says this latest extension by the U.S. will hurt a lot of border businesses.

“People are already in kind of back to school mode by the end of August, so I think this is a huge blow to a lot of these communities that were hoping they might have some semblance of a summer tourist season from Canadian visitors. I think it’s unfortunate that the U.S. and Canada couldn’t be coordinated in this approach and couldn’t provide more transparency to U.S. and Canadian citizens this whole time period. That makes it really difficult for the businesses and loved ones who are really impacted by these border restrictions,” said Dr. Laurie Trautman, PhD, Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University.

She says the politics surrounding the northern border are tied to those of the southern border, and that could be a reason for the delay.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is calling the extension “absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable.”

She says not reopening the Canadian border is devastating to north country families, businesses, and communities.

Earlier this week, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and residents could travel to Canada starting August 9.

Both countries closed the border to nonessential travel in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions have been extended month-by-month since then.

Here’s Stefanik’s full statement:

“President Biden’s failure to reopen the northern border, especially given Canada’s recent decision to reopen the border to fully vaccinated American travelers in August, is absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable.

“This failure of the Biden Administration to reopen our Northern Border is devastating to North Country families, businesses, and communities who were hopeful that the United States would reciprocate on Canada’s decision to restore travel across the border. It is clear that the Biden Administration has failed the North Country – and it is time for the bipartisan Members of Congress who represent communities along the northern border to follow my leadership and take legislative action.”

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