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Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Rep. Higgins advocates elimination of U.S.-Canada border restrictions

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U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins is calling on the United States to end COVID-related restrictions at the U.S. border with Canada.

Higgins, co-chair of the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group and the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, forwarded correspondence to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, maintaining time is overdue for the United States to cease its COVID-19-related restrictions on our northern border.

“Multiple published reports are now indicating that the government of Canada will allow their existing COVID-19-related border restrictions to lapse when their current regulations expire at the end of the day on September 30,” Higgins wrote. “Currently, the stated policy of the U.S. government is that Canadians entering the U.S. by car must have been vaccinated and must be prepared to show proof of vaccination. There is a disconnect between this policy on paper and what is actually happening on the ground in northern border inspection booths thousands of times each day, however.”

According to Higgins, CBP officers do not request that Canadians provide their proof of vaccination unless a vehicle is diverted to secondary inspection for unrelated reasons.

“This obvious contradiction between policy and practice underscores [the] fact that the policy is accomplishing no public health or border security goals while it imposes an unnecessary burden on the economies of northern border communities and an unnecessary hardship on northern border families,” Higgins concluded. “As economic actors, when the traveling public is faced with increased uncertainty at the border, they respond by avoiding cross-border travel. This avoidance has a very tangible negative economic impact in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, and in other communities on both sides of the border from coast to coast.”