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Travel ban set to expire, Higgins pushes border reopening plan

Peace Bridge, Buffalo, NY
WBFO News file photo
Peace Bridge, Buffalo, NY

The ban on non-essential travel between the United States and Canada is set to expire next week and Congressman Brian Higgins is urging the Department of Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive plan to reopen the border.

Part of Congressman Brian Higgins reasoning behind his pursuit to reopen the U.S.- Canadian border is to reunite families. Families like Amherst resident Jordana Halpern and her mother and father, who live in Halpern’s native Ottawa, Ontario. Halpern has not physically seen her parents in over a year:

“Well, it's been an interesting year to see how my parents react to my completely different lifestyle here in Buffalo in the United States,” she said. "Where I can go out to restaurants now or I can maintain relationships with people in a safe way and at a distance often, whereas they have stayed completely inside during this whole time, because that's what their government has told them to do.”

Halpern said differences in how the two countries have handled their respective reopening has caused her parents, who are their 80’s, to worry about her wellbeing.

“So, I think I think we're also going to see how that plays out,” she said. “Everyone's trying to be patient and no one wants to get upset with each other. But certainly there's been times where I can, you know, my parents are not happy with my lifestyle, which is very conservative and very careful.”

Halpern said her most pressing concern is the year of medical appointments her parents have postponed, but is relieved they will receive their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in June.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.