Maine Congressional delegation, Gov. Mills call for US to reopen border with Canada

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine’s Congressional delegation, as well as Gov. Janet Mills, are urging the Biden administration to reopen the northern border to fully vaccinated Canadians.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, joined Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden in sending a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking the administration to allow vaccinated Canadians to cross the border.

The Biden administration said Wednesday that it is extending non-essential travel restrictions for the U.S. northern and southern borders until Aug. 21.

This is despite an announcement earlier this week from the Canadian government that fully vaccinated Americans will be allowed to enter Canada beginning Aug. 9.

In the letter, Maine’s Congressional delegation highlighted the impact the border closure has had on the state.

Many parts of the state depend on tourists from Canada. Many families also have relatives on either side of the border.

“As you are aware, in March of 2020 the U.S-Canada border closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting down all but essential travel between the two countries,” wrote the Delegation. “As a result, many Maine communities that rely on Canadian customers have been challenged, and families who live on either side of the border have been unable to see their loved ones for over a year. Earlier this week, Canada announced plans to adjust its restrictions and allow all fully vaccinated Americans, who are otherwise admissible, to travel from the United States to Canada beginning on Aug. 9, 2021.”

Mills issued a statement Wednesday afternoon also calling on the U.S. government to reopen the border.

“The State of Maine is inextricably bound to our Canadian neighbors. Our ties stretch across our economy, our culture, and our families. The decision to prolong the border closure on our end only diminishes these ties, hurts local economies, and separates families, particularly in northern and eastern Maine, whose relatives in Canada will be unable to travel here to see their loved ones. I share the Federal government’s concern about the spread of COVID-19, but vaccines are now available and Canada’s vaccination rate now exceeds that of the United States. The time has come for the U.S. government to safely open the border,” Mills said.

The U.S. has been limiting non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.

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