Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said that while he is happy the Department of Homeland Security will reopen the ports of entry along the northern and southern border for "non-essential travelers" closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is concerned about the change only applying to fully vaccinated people.
In a press release, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced "In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings."
"Since February of this year, I have been calling for the northern border to be open. The closure of the northern border has been devastating to our small northern communities that depend upon international trade and travel," Rosendale said in a statement to Townhall.
"While I am happy the Biden administration is going to allow land travel to resume, I am very concerned that President Biden is using this as a tool to advance his COVID-19 vaccine mandates for those to participate in essential trade, especially as our supply chain continues to have dire consequences for American consumers,” Rosendale added.
During a trip to Montana with Congressman Rosendale in April, Townhall learned that, due to the ports of entry being closed to "non-essential travelers," the border town of Havre saw a noticeable decrease in tourism revenue.
"It's had a huge impact in this community, there's no question about it. Businesses are suffering," Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson told Rosendale during a April meeting.
"Our tourism collections are down by between 30-50 percent depending on the business we are talking about. We saw little to no Canadian tourism in the past year along with a decrease in people stopping on their way to Glacier because of the east gate closure," Julea Robbins, executive director for the Havre Chamber of Commerce, told Townhall at the time.
"While most of our local businesses have made it through the pandemic, almost every business has suffered loss of revenue and we have seen a couple businesses close their doors for good. The pandemic has been hard on our local economy but we are trying to bounce back."