U.S. to reopen Canadian border after ‘months’ of pressure from lawmakers

It is estimated that, on average, Canadian tourists spend nearly $1,000 while visiting the U.S.

The Roseau–South Junction border crossing on the border of Minnesota and Canada. (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

The Biden administration has announced a November reopening of the Canadian border after persistent pressure from lawmakers.

In a Tuesday statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Canadian travelers who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to enter the United States by land and ferry.

“[I]n November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” Mayorkas said.

“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Although Mayorkas did not offer a specific reopening date, Washington lawmakers who hail from northern border states were nevertheless happy to hear about his announcement.

“After months of pressing the Biden Admin, I am pleased to hear that the US land border with Canada will finally reopen,” tweeted Rep. Pete Stauber of Minnesota. “As the Representative of a border district, I know that this is welcome news for many families and businesses in northern Minnesota!”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar also released a statement calling the development “good news.”

“As chair for the Senate group working with the Canadian parliament, I’ve long advocated to safely open up both land and air travel between the United States and Canada,” she said. “Businesses and friends and family have been separated for too long. As the Mayor of Duluth would say — we can see the lighthouse on the horizon. This is an important step as we continue to fight our way out of this pandemic.”

The announcement comes just two weeks after Rep. Tom Emmer and five other House Republicans sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas calling for an end to the closure and requesting details of a plan for “new border procedures.”

It is estimated that, on average, Canadian tourists spend nearly $1,000 while visiting the U.S. Around 90% of the Canadian population lives within one hundred miles of the U.S. border as well. Both of these factors underscore the vital importance of Canadian tourism to the economies of border communities in states like Minnesota, North Dakota, and New York.