Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky seeking clarification on the medical justifications for the United States’ ban on all travelers from entering the country for non-essential purposes via land. The administration previously announced that beginning in November, certain fully vaccinated travelers who have tested negative for coronavirus may enter the United States via air travel, but not on land.
“The extension of the ban on land border crossings has significant impacts on states and communities along the Canadian border. Before the pandemic, Canadians regularly crossed the border to shop at small businesses, visit ski resorts and recreational areas, and see friends and family. The restrictions on land crossings have made these interactions next to impossible, putting enormous strain on border communities,” the Senators wrote.
“These economic and personal sacrifices appear to no longer be necessary now that vaccines are widely available...Canada has a high rate of vaccination with 68 percent of all Canadians and 78 percent of Canadians over the age of 12 having been fully vaccinated.”
“Accordingly, we ask that you clarify whether there is any medical justification for continuing to impose more stringent restrictions on Canadians entering the United States via car than on Canadians entering via plane. We support efforts to curb the transmission of COVID-19 and appreciate the tireless, ongoing work being done to keep Americans safe and healthy. That said, we also share the concerns of our constituents and communities along the U.S.-Canada border who are being impacted by the decision to continue restricting non-essential travel at land border crossings,” the Senators concluded.
Click HERE to read the full letter.
Senator Collins has repeatedly pushed to adjust or reevaluate restrictions on non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border. In July, she joined the rest of the Maine Delegation in sending a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the Biden Administration to take steps to allow fully-vaccinated Canadians to cross the U.S.-Canada border for business or leisure given current health conditions. In May, she participated in a call with U.S. Senators and Canadian members of Parliament to discuss the importance of reopening the border.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins sent a letter urging Secretary Mayorkas to ease restrictions on U.S.-Canada travel and included copies of correspondence she had with both former President Trump and former Acting Secretary Chad Wolf advocating for limited border crossing exemptions based on localized risks.