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Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins

Jul 23, 2020
Press Release
On Lifting of the Federal Policy Banning New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who wrote to Customs and Border Protection in June (Letter Here) calling for the state and federal governments to find a resolution to the Trusted Traveler dispute, released the following statement in response to today’s news that the policy banning New Yorkers is lifted:

Higgins, who serves as Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus, said, “Law-abiding Americans and northern border commerce were collateral damage in this policy targeting New Yorkers.  We have been calling on the State and Federal governments to negotiate in good faith to resolve this dispute and we are a pleased they’ve reached an agreement. However it comes at a time when the Northern Border is closed to the free flow of people due to the Administration’s failed leadership on the pandemic. We want the Northern Border reopened to all, but that won’t happen until the Administration takes this health emergency seriously and works to bring down surging COVID cases across the United States.”

Background:

  • In February, the Trump Administration executed a policy excluding all New York residents from the trusted traveler program, which allows for expedited crossings over the U.S./Canada border after enrollment in the NEXUS, Global Entry or FAST programs designed to pre-screen travelers.
  • Over 16.8 million truck and passenger vehicle crossings occurred on New York bridges in 2018, including more than 11.79 million right here on Western New York’s four northern border bridges.
  • Travel across the U.S./Canada border is currently restricted to essential travel through at least August 20, 2020 due to the global pandemic. Higgins has also been pushing for the definition of essential travel to be expanded to allow for crossings to visit family, check on property or conduct legitimate business.
  • Current COIVD numbers (7/23/2020)
    • US: Cases: 4,007,859 / Deaths: 143,846
    • Canada: Cases: 114,144 / Deaths: 8,915

Congressman Higgins’ Western New York district which encompasses the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the United States and Canada.