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Reopen the Canada-U.S. border, Midwest lawmakers tell Ottawa

Click to play video: '‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines' ‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines
WATCH: ‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines – Jul 8, 2021

A coalition of frustrated legislators from across the U.S. Midwest is formally asking the White House and Canada‘s federal government to reopen the border to fully vaccinated travellers.

The Midwestern Legislative Conference, an offshoot of the U.S. Council of State Governments, passed a formal resolution at its annual meeting Wednesday calling on both federal governments to take immediate action.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to all but essential travel and trade since March of last year as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Canada-U.S. border restrictions start to ease' COVID-19: Canada-U.S. border restrictions start to ease
COVID-19: Canada-U.S. border restrictions start to ease – Jul 5, 2021

Lawmakers from across the Midwest say what qualifies as “essential travel” has been left up to the discretion of individual border agents, creating widespread confusion.

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The travel restrictions have been extended on a monthly basis for more than a year, and are currently set to expire July 21.

Read more: U.S. extends ferry, land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico until July 21

Canada gradually began easing quarantine requirements last week, but only for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents and other eligible travellers.

The conference includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as the province of Saskatchewan.

Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario are also affiliate members.

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