July 27, 2021

Senator Hassan Presses DHS on US-Canada Border Restrictions

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan today pushed back on the Biden administration’s actions at the Northern border, pressing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary on the agency’s decision to keep the U.S.-Canadian border closed to vaccinated Canadian travelers. 

 

Click here or see below for Politico's reporting on the hearing:

 

Politico Pro: Frustrated Senate Democrats press Mayorkas on northern border restrictions 

By Sam Mintz

 

Democrats from Northern states criticized the Biden administration on Tuesday for maintaining restrictions on the Canadian border, and grilled Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the agency's refusal to reciprocate Canada's recent move to open its doors to vaccinated Americans.

 

Mayorkas was testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where both Chair Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) challenged the administration's decision-making.

 

Criticism from Democrats: [...] Garnering particular frustration was the fact that DHS chose not to reciprocate a recent Canadian decision to allow vaccinated Americans to enter the country.

 

"I don’t understand the public health analysis, given the Canadian vaccination rates and given that they’re just allowing vaccinated Americans in. We could do the same reciprocally," said Hassan.

 

Mayorkas responds: The Homeland Security chief said the decision on the border is based on public health and informed by the course of the Covid pandemic. But he said the U.S. can make incremental changes if conditions call for them.

 

"Our greatest priority is the health and safety of the American people," Mayorkas said. "We are watching the trajectory of the pandemic, a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are watching the Delta variant very carefully. We will lift those restrictions in collaboration with the [CDC] when the arc of the pandemic so warrants."

 

[...] On the other hand, he said the administration is reconsidering its policies "on a day-to-day basis."

 

"Though the renewal of the travel restrictions is in effect for another 30 days, should the public health enable us to lift travel restrictions in any way before the expiration of [the] 30 day period, we do have the authority to do so," Mayorkas said. […]

 

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