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US To Open Border To Fully Vaccinated Travelers from Mexico and Canada

Non-essential travel will still be prohibited for unvaccinated people

Fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico and Canada will be allowed to visit the United States when the land border reopens in November.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. restricted travel between its neighboring nations. Students, health care workers, U.S. citizens, truck drivers, and other essential workers were always allowed to travel. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement:

“We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner. Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Unvaccinated “non-essential” travelers are still not permitted to enter the country although air travel is allowed with a negative COVID-19 test.

On Aug. 9, Canada said U.S. travelers and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks could cross its border. The nation wanted to fully reopen for visitors by Sept. 7.

The announcement from the Canadian government coincided with an announcement from the Biden administration that it would extend travel restrictions to surge in cases of the Delta variant. 

The White House announced on Sept. 20 that the United States in early November would lift travel restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also said it would extend the vaccine requirements to foreign air travelers from all other countries,” per Reuters.

Mexico never closed its borders during the pandemic.

The BBC reports that “a controversial law which allows the US to swiftly expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in holding facilities will stay in place.”

The Biden administration has indicated it will not end Title 42, which was enacted under President Donald Trump. The CDC stated that the policy, which bars the entry of migrants into America, serves to “protect the public health from an increase in the serious danger to the introduction of [a communicable] disease into the land.” It has been criticized for cutting off the normal path to asylum for migrants crossing the nation’s southern border. 

The Department of Homeland Security did not set a specific date for the reopening but noted: “the modifications to the Title 19 regulations will occur in two phases over the next few months.”

The federal agency added: “This new travel system will create consistent, stringent protocols for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States – whether by air, land, or ferry – and accounts for the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccinations.” 

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