Shomporko Online News Desk: A group of business leaders from the United States and Canada is urging Congress to approve a plan to relax border restrictions with Canada.
Senior congressional leaders should demand a specific policy from the Department of Homeland Security, according to the group, which is sponsored by the North American Strategy for Competitiveness.
The coalition is particularly concerned about what it calls “tremendous delays” as border officers struggle to process inbound traveler vaccination status and COVID-19 test results.
Their letter to senior members of Congress calls on the department to explain how it plans to deal with an influx of visitors from Canada when the travel ban is finally eased.
“We understand the necessity of protecting public health and believe that the U.S. can do so while also easing the restrictions at the land border,” the letter reads.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection “does not appear to have a plan in place to execute a safe reopening without causing tremendous delays at land ports of entry.”
The letter is addressed to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House committees and subcommittees on homeland security, as well as members of several key Canada-U.S. caucus groups.
Its signatories include organizations focused on cross-border commerce and travel, including the Canada-U.S. Business Association, the Border Trade Alliance, and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.
Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross into Canada beginning Monday. The U.S., however — citing concerns about the Delta variant — has extended its own restrictions at land crossing points until Aug. 21.
And while he didn’t specifically mention Canada, Jeff Zients, who oversees the White House COVID-19 response, suggested Thursday that the U.S. is not in any hurry to ease its current limits on inbound travel.
“Given where we are today? on the prevalence of the Delta variant, the United States will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point,” Zients told a media briefing.
He noted that interagency working groups established by the White House to look into the issue of overseas travel are currently looking into the best ways to allow travel to resume when the time comes, including whether proof of vaccination should be required.
“Part of that planning is a phased approach whereby foreign nationals traveling to the United States may need to have some form of vaccine mandate; there is still policy work being done here,” Zients added.
“At this moment, that is not a decision; it is one of the paths that is being looked at and examined. However, there are other options being considered at the same time.’
Source_ the Canadian press