With U.S.-Canada Border Restrictions Extended, Buffalo, New York area Congressman Asks Governments to Examine Essential Travel Allowances

Congressman Brian Higgins Encourages Planning for a Reopening that Protects Public Health While Reinvigorating Commerce

Canada-U.S Governments Announce Decision This May 19th to Extend Border Closing to all but Essential Travel until last week of June

News from the Buffalo, New York Office of Democratic Party Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted May 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as Co-Chair of the House of Representatives’ Northern Border Caucus is asking U.S. and Canada leaders to re-examine the scope of those provided essential travel status as communities on each side of the border begin reopening measures.

On March 24 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed travel restrictions at Land Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada, limiting crossings to “essential travel” due to the ongoing pandemic. A second notice extended travel restrictions through May 20. Earlier this week the U.S. and Canada agreed to extend northern border restrictions through 11:59pm on June 22, 2020.

Under the current order, “essential travel” includes:

  *   US citizens returning to the US

  *   Individuals traveling for medical purposes

  *   Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions  or work

  *   Individuals traveling for emergency or government response

  *   Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g. cargo drivers)

  *   Members of the military

In a letter to the U.S. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Higgins asks<https://higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/5-22-20%20REP.%20HIGGINS%20-%20NORTHERN%20BORDER.pdf> leaders to consider expanding essential travel allowances, “I write today to advocate that in the course of this extension, the definition of essential travel be expanded specifically to include:

1) travel safely to visit family,

2) travel to manage individuals’ legitimate business interests, and

3) travel to inspect, secure and/or manage personal property.

Higgins continues, “This approach should not be “one size fits all” and should maximize safety to the public health. We should recognize, though, that the restrictive border is an anomaly, since many residents in both New York and Ontario use the border on a daily basis for basic tasks central to their livelihood.”

Except for transport trucks full of commercial goods and those crossing the border to perform services considered “essential,” the Peace Bridge and other border crossings between Canada and the U.S. have been closed since late March due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Congressman Higgins commended bi-national efforts to protect citizens and encouraged continued, thoughtful coordination to plan for further modifications to border restrictions, “Border communities, like mine, value the economic and cultural impacts of sharing an international border, however, we understood the necessity of implementing reasonable travel restrictions amid a global pandemic,” he said.

“Cooperation and trust among governments at all levels is vital, including those between neighboring countries. It is my hope that our governments, appreciating the meaningful connections my constituents have with Southern Ontario, will incorporate these considerations under further modifications to previously announced cross-border travel restrictions.”

Higgins’ Western New York district, which encompasses the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the United States and Canada.

Read U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins’ letter by clicking on – file:///C:/Users/owner/AppData/Local/Temp/5-22-20%20REP.%20HIGGINS%20-%20NORTHERN%20BORDER.pdf

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

 “A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

One response to “With U.S.-Canada Border Restrictions Extended, Buffalo, New York area Congressman Asks Governments to Examine Essential Travel Allowances

  1. As much as I enjoy visiting Buffalo I do not want the border opened. Yes it is hard on families living apart not only across the border but within the province and other parts of Canada. For example there is no difference betweem me unable to visit family and/or check on my property in the Atlantic provinces and one wanting to travel across the border for the same reasons.

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