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Hassan grills Homeland Security secretary over Canada border policy

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 2:37 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCAX) - New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan pressed the Biden administration Tuesday about the decision to allow Canadians to enter the country by air, but not to cross the border on land.

Currently an unvaccinated Canadian can hop on a plane and fly into the U.S., but vaccinated Canadians may not cross into the country at ports of entry. The Democrat asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas whether the White House is aware of the economic stress this puts on states whose economies rely on Canadian tourism.

Sen. Maggie Hassan: I do not understand the public health rationale here at all for closing the northern border to vehicular traffic when it is essentially open to air traffic.

Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas: Senator, I know of your disappointment. You have expressed it quite clearly to me. I should say that the decision is an all-of-government decision. The relevant equity holders are involved in the decision-making. We are very mindful of the economic impact. We are reviewing both the public health and the family impact consequences of our decision on a daily basis and we are proceeding iteratively in light of, quite frankly, the arc of the delta.

Sen. Maggie Hassan: I understand that and I’m going to turn to some more questions now, but this is the same response we have gotten for weeks and months without anyone explaining to us the public health rationale for a decision that is keeping Canadians and Americans from seeing each other, businesses from doing their business with each other, tourists from coming to states like mine.

Mayorkas was invited to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to discuss security threats 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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