U.S. to open Canada, Mexico borders

U.S. Customs officers stand beside a sign saying that the U.S. border is closed at the U.S./Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario, on March 22, 2020. Lars Hagberg/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

WATERTOWN — Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday night that he has received “direct confirmation” from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas that the United States plans to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border to nonessential vaccinated travelers by early November.

Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, said the reopening of the northern border “is long overdue.”

“This action is the product of nonstop advocacy from numerous groups, including countless dedicated citizens, family members, and organizations in our area,” said Jacobs, whose 27th Congressional District includes all of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. “After months of silence from the Biden administration, I am excited to soon welcome our Canadian friends and family back to Western New York, just in time for the holiday season. Separated families will be able to reunite, and small businesses will be able to welcome Canadian shoppers and finish the year strong.”

The reopening announcements comes nearly two months after the Canadian government first opened its side of the border to vaccinated Americans.

“Kudos to President Biden for doing the right thing and increasing cross border travel between Canada and the U.S.,” Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

Sen. Schumer has been calling for a reopening plan since May of this year, including during a July 6 appearance in Sackets Harbor. He has been citing northern border communities’ economic, educational, property, medical, business and family ties to Canada.

Travel restrictions at the land border with Mexico will also be lifted.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y, has repeatedly called on the Biden administration to reopen the border with both Mexico and Canada, particularly the northern border.

“Finally, the New York-Canadian border will be open again to vaccinated travelers from both nations,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement. “This reopening will be welcome news to countless businesses, medical providers, families, and loved ones that depend on travel across the northern border.”

Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul has also been calling for the reopening of the border, and is now applauding the federal government’s move.

“I applaud our federal partners for reopening our borders to Canada, something I have called for since the beginning of the closure,” the governor said in a statement. “Canada is not only our trade partner, but more importantly, Canadians are our neighbors and our friends. From Western New York to the North Country, I look forward to welcoming our Canadian neighbors back to New York as we continue to rebuild and recover from this pandemic.”

The U.S.-Canadian Border has been closed to nonessential travelers since March 2020.

Includes reporting by Daily News Regional Editor Ben Beagle.

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