Schumer, Gillibrand seek more exemptions for closed U.S.-Canada border

Posted 23 March 2020 at 12:23 pm

Press Release, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with a bipartisan group of senators representing states along the United States-Canada border, called on President Trump to consider the effect of closing the U.S.-Canada border on border communities.

The letter highlights concerns regarding the border closure’s effect on the supply chains of companies that produce or provide essential goods and services. The northern border closure began March 21. The letter also urged the president to consider the impact on families living in border communities.

“With more cases of coronavirus being diagnosed in New York’s border communities each day it’s imperative that the proper supplies, staff, and assistance that New Yorkers desperately need don’t get interrupted,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer. “Now, more than ever, having access to medical attention and services can mean life or death, and with a growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Upstate New York the need for an unrestricted flow of Canadian healthcare workers is intensifying, which is why I am urging the federal government to immediately address the confusion and assure all New Yorkers that the potentially lifesaving supply chain does not get interrupted.”

“Travel across the northern border is critical for supplies and personnel that New York businesses, hospitals, and medical equipment providers depend on,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “To fight the spread of coronavirus, we need to be mindful of travel restrictions – making sure they don’t hinder our ability to respond to this growing public health emergency. I urge the Trump administration to consider border communities in its ongoing response to coronavirus.”

The letter urged the president to evaluate the impact of travel restrictions on families and communities along the northern border, some of which share essential services critical to public safety. The senators implored the president to provide guidance as to how closures and quarantines will affect these communities to ensure all necessary exemptions are made in the interest of public health and safety.

The letter explains that restrictions on travel across the border are necessary to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but targeted exemptions must be considered and clear directives for those exemptions must be immediately provided so businesses and individuals are able to plan and prepare.

The letter is cosigned by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D- NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (D-ME), Jim Risch (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

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