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Leahy: Delta variant throws monkey wrench into border reopening plans

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is meeting with top Senate leaders Wednesday night to discuss the reopening of the U.S.-Canada border.

Right now, the border is open for Americans but Canadians still cannot enter until at least Sept. 21.

However, Canadians can fly over the border, which closed last year at the onset of the pandemic.

Now, Leahy says new variants of the coronavirus are throwing a wrench in plans to fully reopen the border.

“It’s not because we have fear of Canada or immigration or anything else. It’s because of COVID and now delta has created another enormous problem,” said Leahy, D-Vermont.

Leahy says he and the other members of Vermont’s congressional delegation, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch, all agree the border needs to open back up to Canadians.

Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sen. Patrick Leahy(WCAX)

Meanwhile, Leahy says a giant infrastructure deal being considered by Congress includes $3.5 billion for improvements to 30 land ports of entry on both the Canadian and Mexican border.

Leahy and Robin Carnahan, the administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, toured the U.S. port of entry from Canada at Highgate Springs on Wednesday to highlight the project.

If approved in its current form, the federal infrastructure deal would spend $285 million to upgrade five ports of entry in Vermont, including $170 million to upgrade the Vermont port that links the United States with Saint-Armand and Philipsburg, Quebec.

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