Despite the fact that the supply chain across the United States continues to hurt American consumers, starting on January 22, the Biden administration will require nonresident truck drivers, as well as government and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated in order to cross the U.S. border.
“A senior administration official said the requirement, which the White House previewed in October, brings the rules for essential travelers in line with those that took effect earlier this month for leisure travelers, when the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals,” the Star-Tribune reported.
The Biden administration had originally scheduled the vaccination requirement for November 8 but then pushed the deadline back.
On October 29, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security announced:
Starting November 8, when arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal, non-citizen travelers should be prepared to (1) provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)website; and (2) verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.
Any non-citizen attempting to enter the United States through illegal means or without appropriate documentation may be subject to expulsion or removal. Travelers arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal should be prepared to present any other relevant documents as requested by a CBP Officer.
Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the trucking group Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, slammed the decision, saying the Biden administration action showed “how unnecessary government mandates can force experienced owner-operators and independent truckers out of business,” adding, “These requirements are another example of how impractical regulations will send safe drivers off the road.”
This week, Canada announced it would require truck drivers, whether American or Canadian, to be double-vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 15 when crossing into Canada.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has estimated that roughly 70% of the $648 billion in trade between America and Canada is transported by trucks. “There are 120,000 Canadians who operate cross border and 40,000 U.S.-licensed drivers moving north-south trade,” Heavy Duty Trucking reports.
CTA president Stephen Laskowski blasted Canada’s decision.
“We are extremely concerned there is a perfect storm brewing,” he asserted. “In light of worldwide supply chain disruptions and delays, it’s unclear how the supply chain and the trucking industry, in particular, can withstand further turmoil and maintain the service levels required to deliver critical products Canadians and Americans need.”
CTA, which said their estimate was a conservative one, claimed that 10-20% of Canadian truck drivers crossing the border (12,000-22,000), and 40% of U.S. truck drivers (16,000) traveling into Canada will quit over the vaccine requirement.
“It is entirely unclear how the industry and supply chain can compensate for thousands of drivers abruptly exiting the system overnight,” Laskowski noted. “Make no mistake, if this mandate moves forward as planned, it would bring significant consequences for the cross-border economy, which will be felt by the Canadian and American public.”