11:00 AM ET JAN. 29, 2021, By Spectrum Staff

It has been nearly a year since the border to Canada was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a bipartisan effort led by New York Congressional Representatives Brian Higgins and Elise Stefanik aims to ease restrictions and eventually reopen the border.

In a letter to president Joe Biden, a plan is outlined to work with the Canadian government to establish a bilateral plan for restoring travel. The letter also calls for plans to allow for families to safely reunite and develop a policy for international property owners.

Additionally, the reopening plan calls for prioritizing vaccine and testing efforts for Customs and Border Patrol staff.

The letter, signed by a bipartisan coalition of 24 members of Congress, says in part:

“…as we approach one year of restricted travel, we also must recognize the significant impact these restrictions have had on individuals, families, businesses, and communities on both sides of the border. The continued ritual of monthly extensions without substantive signs of collaboration or progress only increases uncertainty and amplifies hardship for the border communities we represent. Since the onset of the restrictions, we have been adamant that preserving the deep social and economic bond shared between the U.S. and Canada necessitates a clear pathway forward.”

When fully operational, the border serves as a gateway for more than 400,000 people and nearly $2 billion worth of goods daily.

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