The United States will keep its borders with Mexico and Canada closed for another month for all non-essential travel, the acting US homeland security chief said Monday.
“To continue to limit the spread of COVID, the US, Mexico, & Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Nov. 21,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted. “We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future & support our border communities.”
Wolf’s announcement came at the same time as an announcement from his Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who tweeted that the decision was “based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”
President Trump has been eager to get the northern border reopened, saying in September that the non-essential travel restrictions would be lifted “pretty soon.”
“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it opened and we want to get back to normal business. We’re going to be opening the borders pretty soon,” he said while speaking to reporters at the time.
The US-Canada border has been closed since March, as has the US-Mexico border, when the virus first exploded on American soil.
Despite the commander-in-chief’s desire to reopen the northern border, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed hesitation at the idea, saying, “We’d love to have the border open … but we can’t do that unless we’re comfortable that Canadians are being kept safe.”
“The United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” Trudeau remarked in a podcast interview last Wednesday with “The Start.”
“We will continue to make sure that Canadians’ safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”
Trump is not alone, however, in his effort to reopen the border.
More than two dozen members of Congress in states along the Canadian border are seeking to expand travel between the two countries.
In a letter penned by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) in July, the lawmakers called on Wolf and Blair to develop guidance for reopening the 5,525 miles of border.
Higgins and Stefanik, co-chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, said a plan to reopen is important because it affects the economies of communities on both sides of the border.
With Post wires