Stefanik, Montana senator propose new Canada border bill

Rep. Elise Stefanik delivers a speech for the Republican National Convention on the night of Aug. 26, 2020, remotely from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. (Screenshot from video)

WASHINGTON — Three days after Canada released its newest policies on travel along the U.S.-Canada border, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik partnered with Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., to introduce a bill that would start opening up the border on the U.S. side.

On Monday, Canada announced it will open up travel across the border for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of the country who are fully vaccinated. This new policy does not require a 14-day quarantine. However, it requires a coronavirus test 72 hours or less in advance and one when travelers enter Canada. Citizens and permanent residents also are required to have a quarantine plan in place in case of a positive test.

The United States Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that the U.S. will continue to limit crossing the border to essential travel only, through July 21.

“Extending the travel restrictions for yet another month, despite the tremendous progress the U.S. has made in fully vaccinating Americans and safely reopening, is absolutely unacceptable to the families, businesses, and communities along the northern border,” Stefanik said.

The bill introduced by the two members of Congress looks to force Homeland Security to allow border crossings to visit family, to visit property owned in the United States, to do business and to travel to an American airport to board a flight. It would also require the DHS to present to Congress a “plan to full restore non-essential travel into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border.”

The bill is highly unlikely to become law with the House of Representatives controlled by the Democratic Party and a 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker. However, it shows the growing pressure from politicians, businesses and activists to resume travel between the U.S. and Canada.

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York state Assemblyman Billy Jones and Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Plattsburgh all have called for looser restrictions on the border.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today