The border has been closed to non-essential travel since March to slow the spread of COVID-19. The closure is currently in place until July 21 after two extensions.
In a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Democratic Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow asked for clarification on future changes to border policies. They want to know how restrictions will affect families split by the border, college students, and people who have to cross the border to get to their property.
“In Michigan, immediate family members live on opposite sides of the border, students at Michigan colleges and universities cross the border to attend school, and citizens of one country own homes in the other for recreation,” wrote the senators. “As stay at home orders are relaxed in communities, these impacted individuals deserve clarification on continued border policies.”
The senators noted that Canada began to allow immediate family members of Canadian citizens to enter the country last month, but that the U.S. has not announced a reciprocal policy. Citing high water levels on the Great Lakes, they also asked whether travel to a property to address flood damage would be considered essential.
They also questioned how the U.S. and Canada are informing each other about changes to border crossing criteria.
Peters is the Ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.