Commentary

It’s way past time to open US-Canadian border

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It is far past time to reopen the border between the United States and Canada. Even Gov. Janet Mills agrees now, too.

Pressure has built against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in recent weeks after the agency announced the U.S. border to Canada would remain closed until at least Aug. 21, roughly two weeks after the Canadian side opens on Aug. 9.

Both Mills and Maine’s Congressional delegation have slammed the agency for prolonging the closure long after it was warranted.

In a statement, Mills said the continued closure “hurts local economies and separates families, particularly in northern and eastern Maine,” and that “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.”

The governor is right. Over 64 percent of vaccine-eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, and over 70 percent of the entire population has received at least one shot of the vaccine. Stateside, 57.5 percent of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated, and nearly 57 percent of the entire population has received at least one shot of the inoculation.

If Canada is primed to open the border, then we certainly should be, too.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejando Mayorkas, the Pine Tree State’s federal delegation urged the agency to “develop an immediate plan to allow vaccinated Canadians to resume travel to [the] United States.”

Citing an imminent Canadian economic boom from Americans finally being able to visit the country, as well as families who face continued separation, the four legislators said “there is no more time to delay; we implore you to quickly develop and implement a plan that will benefit Maine’s economy and our families.” The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, as well as Independent Sen. Angus King and Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

The urgent need to open the U.S.-Canadian border transcends partisan politics. Maine families need it. The nation’s economy needs it. It is far past time to reopen the border.

Politicians across New England remain vexed on the issue, as well. Per the Burlington Free Press via USA Today, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said the border closure “harms our small businesses and families, and does not follow the science.”

Elected officials from New York, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer, have called for the reopening, as have Vermont’s Republican governor and two Democratic senators.

It’s long past time for the border to reopen. The DHS and White House must work to open the US-Canada border as soon as possible.

Photo Credit: Andy8Kahn, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About Nick Linder

Nicholas Linder, of Cincinnati, is a communications Intern for Maine Policy Institute. He is going into his second year of studying finance and public policy analysis at The Ohio State University. On campus, he is involved with Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and Business for Good.

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