Higgins keeps up pressure in hopes of opening US border to Canadians

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Rep. Brian Higgins, (D) of New York’s 26th Congressional district, is keeping up the pressure on the White House to loosen up the Canadian border restrictions.

For the past 18 months in a row, the United States has extended the ban on allowing Canadian residents to cross the land borders even though, in August, the Canadian government began allowing US residents to drive to Canada, provided they get a negative Covid test in advance.

The earliest possible date that there would be a change is on October 21, when the latest extension expires. But Higgins has had his hopes up before, and so he is gathering as much support as he can before the next deadline.

On Wednesday, he spoke with Randy Hoback, a Member of the Canadian House of Commons who is hoping his constituents in Saskatchewan will be able to drive their recreational vehicles across the border to winter in the US southern states. Right now, they can only fly into the United States.

Higgins notes that the Canadian vaccination rate is now better than the vaccination rate in the United States. So, Higgins also called Jeffrey Zeintz, the Covid coordinator for the White House.

“He indicated that a lot of people have been contacting the White House, members of Congress from both parties of various regions of the 120 land ports of entry across the US and I get the sense that they feel some pressure. But we’re just holding them to what they have admonished us to do for 19 months,” said Higgins. “When you follow the science, the facts and the data, it points to opening the border.”

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Congressman Higgins says he continues to drum up support in Congress and with members of the Canadian Parliament in the hopes of convincing the Biden administration to reopen the border to Canadians.

He expects to know one way or the other before the October 21 deadline.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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