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Collins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (R-Maine) urged the Biden administration to revisit an order on U.S.-Canadian border restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Feb. 16 letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasBiden is thinking about building that wall — and that's a good thing 3M files lawsuit against Florida company over fake N95 masks Omar slams Biden admin for continuing 'the construction of Trump's xenophobic and racist wall' MORE, Collins said she hoped they could work to an “equitable solution” for communities along the U.S.-Canadian border that takes into account localized risk levels. 

Collins publicly released the letter on Thursday.

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“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, strict travel restrictions at land ports of entry between the United States and Canada have been in effect for nearly one calendar year,” Collins wrote.

“While I appreciate the need to limit nonessential travel into the United States in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19, these restrictions should reflect the localized risk levels along our border, and allow for certain common-sense exceptions, such as visits among close relatives or day-to-day local commerce in low-COVID-19 transmission areas,” she continued.

The letter comes after DHS tweeted on Feb. 19 that the U.S., Canada and Mexico are extending restrictions on nonessential travel at their land borders through March 21, which would keep the restrictions in place for exactly one year.

The restrictions were first agreed to last March but have been repeatedly extended over the course of 2020 as the pandemic accelerated and persisted.

Under current restrictions, Canadian citizens, Americans with dual citizenship, and family members and partners can cross for nonessential purposes, The Associated Press reported