WASHINGTON, D.C. — Noting the rising vaccination rates in Montana, Senator Steve Daines wants the Biden Administration to be more aggressive about reaching an agreement to re-open the Canadian border to regular traffic.
There's still no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to resume anything but commercial, "essential" travel through Montana's ports of entry with Canada. And as we've shown you before, it's keeping cross-border families separated by the COVID restrictions.
"Well, this is going to take leadership from the top and the hypocrisy that we're seeing at the moment from the Biden Administration is frustrating many Montanans," says Daines. "I was having these conversations in eastern Montana on Friday. On one hand, President Biden has got the southern border wide open to illegal immigrants and drugs flooding across the border. On the other hand, the northern border is closed and that's affecting, of course, our economy, tourism and the ability for this Montana needs get back and forth across the border to engage economically.”
That frustration continues to churn, as Montanans see a flood of immigrants coming across the U.S.- Mexican border in recent months. Some see that as a sharp contrast to the Canadian border, where hardly anyone is crossing. Although some Canadians are finding a variety of loopholes around strict rules controlling air and ground travel and quarantines.
Canadian vaccination rates continue to lag behind Montana in particular, but Daines believes a case can be made for re-opening.
“The data is compelling. The vaccination rates are up. Infection rates are going down. We can safely open up the northern border. We need President Biden to come in agreement with Canada, so, as our economies open up we need to get the Canadians to open up the border and we need the leadership to start the top of President Biden.”
The Republican says he'll continue to press the Administration to find a workable solution for both borders.
“So while we’re putting pressure on the President, the Administration, we need to open the northern border to support our economy and we need to secure the southern border," Daines notes. "And the hypocrisy is seen by so many Montanans and we need action at the top."
Meanwhile, Senator Jon Tester has also urged Montanans to get vaccinated to help make a stronger case for re-opening the Canadian border.
The U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders to limit the further spread of COVID-19.