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Biden Admin Extends COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Non-Citizens Entering US Through Land Ports

The same requirement is not extended to illegal immigrants in federal custody

Non-U.S. travelers entering the country through land ports will be required to present proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 following an extension of a temporary order.

The Department of Homeland Security said its extension of Title 19 was done after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Travelers who are not American citizens and enter the country for both essential and non-essential reasons are subject to the extended requirement. U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals are not required to be fully vaccinated or show evidence of their vaccination status.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting public health while facilitating lawful trade and travel, which is essential to our economic security,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security. “That is why, after consulting with CDC and other federal agencies, DHS will continue to require non-U.S. individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.”

The order is in effect at both land port and ferry terminals. COVID-19 testing is not required at these border points.

“The continuation of these requirements helps protect the health and safety of both the personnel at the border and other travelers, as well as U.S. destination communities, and ensures that public health measures governing land travel align with those that govern incoming international air travel,” the Department of Homeland Security said in its April 22 announcement. “DHS will closely monitor all relevant circumstances, including the effect of these requirements, and may amend or rescind the requirements at any time. In determining whether and when to rescind this order, DHS anticipates that it will take account of whether the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. air travelers remains in place.”

The federal government also issued a vaccine mandate for migrants applying to legally enter the U.S. The Biden Administration made being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 an essential part of the general medical examination forms for individuals seeking to legally reside in the country on Oct. 1.

The Biden administration has not, however, issued a vaccine mandate for illegal immigrants who cross land borders in order to gain entry into America.

While Immigrations and Customs Enforcement can offer vaccinations to migrants in its custody, illegal aliens that are detained are not required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before being released into the country.

Mayorkas also affirmed while testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in November that Afghan refugees brought to the U.S. after Biden’s infamous withdrawal of American military forces from the Middle Eastern country were not subject to any of the COVID-19 vaccine mandates legal migrants and travelers were expected to meet.

DHS did not say when the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for non-citizen travelers would end.

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