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Higgins Sees Canada’s Exception to Allow Crossings to Visit Family as First Step, Congressman Pushes for Broader Exemptions

Jun 8, 2020
Press Release
Congressman Called for the Expansion of Essential Travel to Include Crossings Related to Family, Property or Business Interests

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus, responded to today’s announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau granting permission to cross the border to visit family, calling the policy change “an incremental step forward.”

Higgins added, “Residents of the U.S. and Canada have become accustomed to crossing the border like neighbors in other communities cross the street. We cross to visit family, vacation, shop and eat. A gradual return to a seamless flow of people across the border as communities reopen, along with necessary safety precautions to continue to lower exposure to COVID-19, will be an important component of economic recovery for both nations.”

Higgins recently wrote a letter to U.S. and Canadian leaders requesting an expansion of essential travel allowances to include:

1) travel safely to visit family,

2) travel to manage individuals’ legitimate business interests, and

3) travel to inspect, secure and/or manage personal property.

Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an exception to allow for people to enter Canada to visit family if they agree to a two-week quarantine.  In his remarks Trudeau said, ““This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child or mom and dad.  We hear that.  That’s why we are bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.  I want to be clear though, anyone entering the country will be required to quarantine for 14 days.”

The existing bi-national border restrictions, put in place as a result of the global pandemic, are currently set to expire on June 22.

In the meantime, Higgins is also advocating for New York State and the U.S. Government to resolve the ongoing situation instituted in February that disallows New York residents from enrolling in or renewing enrolment in Trusted Traveler programs, such as NEXUS.