06.24.21

Daines, Stefanik Introduce Bill to Reopen the Canadian Border to Revitalize Montana’s Economy

U.S. CONGRESS — U.S. Senator Steve Daines and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik today introduced a bicameral bill to require the Biden administration open the northern border and revitalize American jobs and tourism.

“It is unacceptable that President Biden continues to ignore the needs of Montanans and keep the northern border closed while supporting the southern border being wide open to a surge of illegal immigrants and a flood of illegal drugs into our Montana communities,” Daines said. “Access to the northern border is critical for Montana jobs, agriculture and tourism. We cannot wait any longer for Biden to do what’s right—it’s time to reopen the northern border for Montana.”

“The Biden administration’s inability to establish a plan to restore cross-border travel and relax travel restrictions is simply unacceptable for families and businesses located along the northern border. Our communities have waited over a year for clarity and signs of progress, yet this administration keeps extending the closures without a promising end in sight,” Stefanik said. “This bill will allow families to reconnect with their loved ones and property owners to access their own homes, and begin to restore the prosperous economic partnership that border communities share with our northern neighbors.”

This comes after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the restrictions on non-essential travel into the U.S. across the northern border through July 21 without establishing a transparent plan for reopening the border or establishing long-sought exemptions for family members and property owners.

The “Restoring Northern Border Travel Act” would require the DHS to expand the list of approved essential cross-border travel within 10 days. The expanded list would include: 

  • An individual traveling to visit a member of their immediate or extended family who is a United States citizen or permanent resident.
  • An individual traveling to visit property they own or lease within the United States.
  • An individual traveling to the United States to attend business meetings or site-visits.
  • An individual traveling directly to a United States airport to board a flight to a United States or international destination.

In addition, the Biden administration would be required to begin implementing a plan to fully restore nonessential cross-border travel within 20 days.

Read the full text of the bill HERE

Daines has been pushing for the northern border to reopen for over a year. 

Background: 

On March 10, 2021, Daines sent a letter to the Biden Administration, urging them to safely reopen the border in support of Montana’s economy. 

On June 17, 2020, Daines sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security urging them to safely reopen the border as soon as possible.

On April 3, 2020, Daines urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection to keep Montana’s ports of entry open to Montana agricultural and trade during the pandemic.

On March 20, 2020, Daines wrote President Trump about the importance of trade and travel over the Canadian border during the pandemic. 

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler