North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is upset that the Biden administration has not lifted a ban on travel across the Canada-U.S. land border, calling it a "baffling decision."
The White House on Monday overhauled some of its international travel restrictions but left the Canada border ban in place, The Associated Press reported.
Canada reopened its border to vaccinated U.S. citizens for nonessential travel on Aug. 9. But the ongoing prohibition on recreational travelers coming south has been extended now for a 19th month until Oct. 21.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it "part of the process," and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said "Because we've renewed (the ban) for 30 days does not necessarily mean that the restriction will last for another 30 days."
Burgum also spoke out earlier this summer during a previous expansion of the border travel ban. He and the governors of Montana and Idaho and the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan also sent a letter in July to President Joe Biden and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for the lifting of restrictions.
Burgum issued a statement late Monday on the current U.S. extension.
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“Again without an explanation from the White House, it’s impossible to know what’s driving this baffling decision to extend these unnecessary restrictions on land-based travelers from Canada -- when Canada’s vaccination rate is substantially higher than the United States’ -- while making accommodations for foreign visitors traveling by air to our country,” Burgum said.
The White House on Monday announced that by early November, it would allow overseas air visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new rules replace Donald Trump-era travel bans. Passengers will have to show proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days prior to departure.
The Biden administration appears to be getting ready to ease and streamline the patchwork of travel restrictions that were first imposed at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, when Trump was still president, according to AP.
But Burgum said the Canada border travel ban "continues to hurt communities and citizens on both sides of the border, as well as our retail and tourism businesses that rely on Canadian travelers.”