MISSOULA — The Department of Homeland Security has again extended the closure of the borders between the U.S. and Canada, and the U.S. and Mexico.
The northern border with Canada is now expected to remain closed until at least October 21.
The decision resulted in a swift reaction from Montana's elected leaders, with Governor Greg Gianforte and both U.S. Senators mentioning impacts to small businesses along the border.
Senator Jon Tester's office cited the U.S. Trade Representative saying that in 2018, Montana exported $692 million in goods to Canada - representing 42% of the state's total goods export.
“While our nation’s southern border remains porous and insecure, with drug cartels and human traffickers taking full advantage of the situation, the federal government continues to lock down our northern border, hurting Montana families and our small business owners who depend on trade and travel and who have suffered from the border’s closure for more than 18 months." - Gov. Greg Gianforte
“I am bitterly disappointed to learn that the Biden Administration has once again decided to unnecessarily keep Montana’s northern land border closed for at least another month. There is no good reason to prohibit fully vaccinated travelers from crossing the border into the U.S. to conduct business and visit friends and family, and this shortsighted decision will hurt folks in Montana and Canada that depend on trade and travel to stay in business. The Biden Administration needs to follow the science and reopen the border to fully vaccinated Canadians so that both of our economies can continue recovering from this crisis.” - US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
“Once again, President Biden has ignored the well-being of Montana families and businesses. Biden’s continued refusal to open the northern border is inexplicable and is devastating Montana border communities and our economy. While Biden keeps the northern border closed, the southern border is wide open to illegal immigrants, many of whom are potentially unvaccinated, flooding our communities with illegal drugs and overwhelming our law enforcement.” - US Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
The U.S. has restricted non-essential travel at both northern and southern border crossings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
Canada lifted restrictions on non-essential travel to Americans who have been vaccinated and can provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in August.