Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Presses for ‘Essential Traveler Exceptions’ at Canada-U.S. Border Crossings

‘(U.S. Congressman Brian) Higgins, who serves as Co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and U.S. Canada Interparlementary Group, has been pushing for the United States and Canada to develop further guidelines for crossing allowances related to family and property unification during a pandemic.’

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins is among a group of U.S. border area representatives calling for some plan to phase in re-opening of shared border crossings

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

Posted July 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Higgins’ Measure on Northern Border Travel Included in Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Language Directs Development of Binational Strategy Related to Family and Property Reunification

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced (this July 16th) the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2021 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which included report language requested by Higgins related to essential traveler exceptions at the Northern Border.

The language reads as follows: “The Committee directs the Secretary (of Homeland Security) to work with the Government of Canada to establish and maintain the following exceptions to the US – Canada non-essential travel restrictions: family reunification and travel to secure property with the appropriate quarantining measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Those were the days, before late March of this year when the Peace Bridge and other Canada-U.S. border crossings were closed to all but essential traffic due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to develop border management protocols for a prolonged pandemic without a legislative directive but they have not done so since the border first closed on March 24, 2020 due to COVID. It was announced on July 16 that the existing shutdown, which expires on July 21, will be extended through August 20.

Higgins, who serves as Co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and U.S. Canada Interparlementary Group, has been pushing for the United States and Canada to develop further guidelines for crossing allowances related to family and property unification during a pandemic, leading a bipartisan letter<https://higgins.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/northern-border-caucus-co-chairs-higgins-stefanik-lead-bipartisan-push> signed by 29 Members of Congress.

The House is currently in the process of developing 12 appropriation bills funding government operations and programs for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1.  Several appropriation bills are scheduled for a vote next week. A vote on the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill has yet to be scheduled.

To read some recent news and commentary posted on Niagara At Large on the Canada-U.S. border crossing issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/07/14/breaking-news-canada-u-s-border-crossings-closed-for-at-least-another-month/

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

4 responses to “Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Presses for ‘Essential Traveler Exceptions’ at Canada-U.S. Border Crossings

  1. As much as I would like to have the border open I am completely against opening the border at this time!

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  2. Linda McKellar

    It seems Americans think the border belongs only to them. It belongs to Canada too and we determine who enters just as they determine who enters their country. I don’t care if 29 or 290 Congressmen sign a letter. I’m not impressed and they cannot open it unilaterally.

    Every day the number of Covid cases and deaths in the US skyrocket. If the situation was reversed, what would they do?
    Today in Sobeys a man was talking to an American who said “I’m in quarantine” and burst out laughing. Thanks moron.

    HOMELAND SECURITY!!!!! What about OUR homeland security?

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  3. Cong. Higgins, Thank you so much for attempting to speak up for property owners and tax payers who own property in Canada. I certainly understand the questions that Canadians have “to have US citizens come across the border”, being from NYS and proud to be the leading gov’t entity to lead the world in the fastest decrease of Covid-19. The last time I looked I noticed approximately 3,.400 people from NYS that own property in Canada of which most stay at their cottages for probably 2-4 months and do not go “back and forth”, like so many(10,000 each week-end) do from the GTA who had possible just gotten back from the Caribbean, Florida or Europe and probably carrying many germs. I would certainly adhere to all the health regulations(2 wk. quarantine, monitor on phone and having a neighbor purchase my supplies and food). that Canada imposes on foreigners and I for one agree with. Thanks, Wayne Alt, cottage owner since 1968.

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  4. Linda McKellar

    Wayne – My comment sounded harsh because I’m so fed up with the idiots who are treating Covid as a joke but I DO feel badly for people like you. We know how well the majority of New York residents and Governor Cuomo have handled a terrible plague. Believe me, we are not against people like you who have cottages and would quarantine and obey the rules. As is the norm, a few always spoil everything for the many. There are Canadians who have been idiots too and flaunted the rules.
    I have a friend from Buffalo who is at her cottage with her husband. She has dual citizenship because her mother was from Kitchener. She had to prove that they owned property and that her spouse was truly her husband. They gladly quarantined and were checked to make sure they obeyed. Neighbors made sure they had any supplies they needed. Other folks I know with cottages have had their lawns mowed and their gardens cared for by their friends here. The problem is that there are some who, unlike you, would make a mockery of the rules.
    I have friends from the US who have property here, would be sensible and love to come over too but it just isn’t going to happen.This isn’t fun for anyone.

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