Plattsburgh, N.Y. – North Country lawmakers are continuing their months-long push for the Biden Administration to outline a plan for reopening the U.S./Canadian border.
On Thursday, State Senator Dan Stec (NY-45) joined County Chairman Mark Henry at the Clinton County Government Center to draw attention to the continued closure.
Stec sent letters to President Biden and Governor Kathy Hochul, highlighting the upcoming fall tourism season and holiday period as reason for urgency in reopening the border. With a September 21 deadline fast approaching, he hopes this time will bring progress.
“A couple months ago, we were lamenting at the likelihood that we were going to lose the summer season,” Stec said. “Well, guess what? It’s post-Labor Day, everyone’s put away their white pants, the summer season is over, we’ve lost that. That’s not to say we throw in the towel and wait until next Memorial Day either.”
Stec noted that Colombus Day weekend and Thanksgiving in Canada present a good opportunity to reunite families and get the tourism economy moving again.
Beyond that, there’s hope that with a new Governor in Hochul, there may be increased focus and acknowledgement of the issue at hand.
“We want to get the message out to people that make these decisions on both sides of the border,” Henry said.
“We’ve had trauma in New York State with Governor Cuomo, I mean, a hot mess for a long time and he’s finally gone,” Stec said. “It is an opportunity for us to re-state our bipartisan, nonpartisan opinions.”
When asked whether reopening the border has become even less of a priority for the Biden Administration amid withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Delta variant, Stec said there shouldn’t be any excuses.
“This isn’t a new issue, this isn’t a ‘holy smokes, we’ve got a crisis on the northern border,” Stec said. “This issue has been here for a year and a half, and we’ve never been told in the last six months ‘This is the timeline, this is the metric, this is the plan, none of that. That’s inexcusable.”
The Canadian government has allowed Americans to enter Canada since early August, but the U.S. government has not reciprocated.
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