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Congressman Higgins Comments on US, Canada Border Agreement

Feb 4, 2011
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, released the following statement in response to today’s meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper related to northern border issues:

“I applaud the news of a concentrated and coordinated approach to shared border issues between the U.S. and Canada. This corridor, which sees a daily exchange of $1.5 billion in goods, has long been a critical link to national economic growth.  

“Today’s announcement of a renewed focus on infrastructure once again put the impetus on the need for Peace Bridge expansion.   Increased capacity along the border produces the dual benefit of reducing bottlenecks and backups which are currently stretching our security efforts thin while encouraging a predictable flow of people and commerce mutually beneficial to our countries.”

“For Western New Yorkers and Southern Ontarians crossing the border has long been as seamless as crossing the street to a neighbor’s house.  We treasure our proximity and must work to preserve this close bi-national relationship as we seek to keep both nations safe.”

The “Shared Vision” document released by the President and Prime Minister Friday, not to be confused with previously considered plans for official “Shared Border Management, which has been ruled out by both the Bush and Obama Administrations due to inconsistent security and civil liberties policies, renews the relationship between US and Canada suggesting:

  • The organization of bi-national port of entry committees to coordinate planning and funding, building, expanding or modernizing shared border management facilities and border infrastructure;
  • That the countries “focus investment in modern infrastructure and technology at our busiest land ports of entry, which are essential to our economic wellbeing;”
  • The establishment of a “Beyond the Border Working Group (BBWG)” composed of representatives from the appropriate departments and offices of our respective federal governments [to implement the plans of the document].

Last week Congressman Higgins sent a letter to President Obama stressing the need for Peace Bridge expansion to fulfill national goals, outlined by the President in the State of the Union Address, pursuing job creation, export expansion and infrastructure investment.   Congressman Higgins, whose Western New York district includes the existing Peace Bridge and borders Southern Ontario, remains a vocal advocate for Peace Bridge expansion.

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