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Congressional Republicans and the Senate’s top Democrat said President Biden’s Tuesday decision to reopen the US land border with Canada was “overdue” after months of pressure from border communities and the spread of vaccines in both countries.

“For too long, residents of the North Country have been denied access to family, travel and commerce. Now, families can be reunited and our small businesses will be restored,” said the Speaker of the House Republican Conference. said Alice Stefnik, R.N.Y. . Its district covers most of northern New York and a significant part of its land border with Canada.

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“This is a long overdue step, although it is an important first step in rebuilding trust in our cross-border relations and friendship with our Canadian partners,” Stefnik said.

Susan Collins, R-Main, also hit out at the Biden administration for how long the border remained closed until Canada opened its border to Americans.

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US will reopen land borders for full vaccination next month

“Today’s long-pending announcement is great news for Mainers, who have missed much of their Canadian relatives at holiday gatherings, family gatherings and other milestone events,” Collins said. “I repeatedly advocated for the U.S. to loosen its border restrictions, and when Canadian officials began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter their country in August, I called on the administration to do the same. Urged to respond with requirements and safeguards.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., criticized the president for failing to allow Canadians to enter the United States months after Canada opened its border to Americans. were criticizing.

“As Canada prepares to further open the border next month, the United States is failing to jeopardize an already weak recovery for thousands of businesses, families and communities in Upstate New York,” Schumer said in July. ”

Then on Wednesday, Schumer still lashed out at the president for how long it took for the border to open.

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“Congratulations to President Biden for doing the right thing and increasing cross-border travel between Canada and the US, the high vaccination rates on each side of the border have opened the door to safer cross-border travel and will now safely fuel the rebound of economic energy.” . Upstate NY,” Schumer said.

He added: “Very soon, the link between New York and our northern neighbors will finally be reestablished, reuniting families, consolidating businesses, and ending the frustrating cycle of waiting for everyone involved.”

Tuesday’s decision, announced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Meyercas, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians to enter the United States through standard ports of entry in November. This also applies to the Mexican border, though Republicans have criticized the administration for the fact that hundreds of thousands of migrants have flown across that border in recent months, even though it was closed outward.

“In alignment with the new international air travel system to be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada, who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, to travel for non-essential purposes. To enter the United States, to travel with friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” Meyerkas said in a statement.

Starting in January, the DHS said, foreign travelers will need proof of vaccination to enter the United States. But Sen. Steve Dines, R-Mont, said Wednesday he wants the president to lift all restrictions on Canadian border crossings.

“While I am pleased to see President Biden take this initial step to reopen the US-Canada border to vaccinated Canadians, I ask him to end all restrictions and fully reopen the northern border. I urge—Montanan is up to it,” Danes said.

Granthshala News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.