New York lawmaker pushes for U.S.-Canadian border reopening

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s a week of two big holidays. For our friends to the North yesterday was Canada Day. And, on Sunday we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. But, the border between our countries continues to remain closed for non-essential travel. 

“Historically we would have big celebrations around this time and it’s just a shame that we’re not able to be with our loved ones the way we’d like to be,” said Western New York Assemblyman Jonathan Rivera.

He says it’s been difficult 15-plus months for those with family on the other side of the border.

“You know, legitimately for people that have health concerns with their family members, aging parents, all kinds of scenarios,” he said.

Rivera has sent a letter to Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kristen Hillman, asking her to request that the Canadian government communicate a plan to open the border. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said he’d like 75 percent of Canadians to be fully vaccinated before ending the closure. On July 5th, however, Canadian citizens won’t need to quarantine when re-entering the country, as long as they are fully vaccinated.

Additionally, Rivera says the closure remains an economic issue.

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of both our GDP and Canada’s GDP being affected by our inability to move people from one side of the border to the other,” he said.

The border closure remains in effect through at least July 21st. 

The Director of Public and Foreign Affairs for the Consulate General of Canada in NY says while they’ve not yet received the letter from Rivera, they’ve “reached out to his office to discuss his concerns.” She also says Counsul General Khawar Nasim hosted Western New York lawmakers including Rivera this week for a “friendly” discussion. 

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