WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — North Country lawmakers are praising the decision to reopen U.S. land borders in November.
On October 13, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it will end a 19-month freeze at the county’s land borders, as fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico will be permitted to enter the U.S. in early November. This applies to vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada.
However, for months, Mexico, Canada and lawmakers that represent areas along the land borders, have pressed for the restrictions to be eased. This includes representatives in the North Country such as Senta Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY.
Following the announcement on Wednesday that borders will open next month, both Senator Schumer and Rep. Stefanik released statements in approval.
“Kudos to president Biden for doing the right thing and increasing cross-border travel between Canada and the U.S.,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “The high vaccination rates on each side of the border have opened the door of safe cross border travel and will now safely increase the rebirth of the economic energy of Upstate NY Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end. Very soon, the link between New York and our northern neighbors will finally be re-established, reuniting families, bolstering businesses, and ending a frustrating cycle of waiting for everyone involved.”
“After months of bipartisan advocacy, I am proud to announce the northern border will finally be reopened,” Stefanik added. “For too long, residents of the North Country have been denied access to family, travel, and commerce. Now, families can be reunited and our small businesses will be restored. I have been fighting for the North Country since the beginning and will not stop until this result is delivered for our communities. This is a long-overdue step, however, it is an important first step to rebuild the confidence in our cross-border relationship and friendship with our Canadian partners.”
The reopening of the Northern Border will take effect in early November, officials confirmed. At this time, a specific date has not been released.
Prior to the announcement on October 13, all U.S. land border had been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, 2020 to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.