The White House announced Tuesday that certain border sections between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada will soon reopen, a move that comes after lengthy restrictions were put into place.
As Reuters reported:
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement the administration next month “will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings.”
The new rules are similar but not identical to planned requirements announced last month for international air travelers, U.S. officials said in a call earlier with reporters.
It does not appear that the border crossings will be officially open to those who aren’t vaccinated.
“Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be banned from crossing the borders with Mexico or Canada, officials said,” reports The New York Times. “Those who were never banned from traveling across the land borders, including commercial drivers and students, will also need to show proof of vaccination when crossing starting in January — an effort to provide them time to adjust to the new rules, officials said.”
It’s not clear how the new policy will be enforced.
The Times noted that officials said people coming into the U.S. at the Canada or Mexico border will be asked questions regarding their immunization status by Customs and Border Protection officials before being permitted to come into the country. “The officers will have the discretion to send travelers to secondary screenings to have their documents checked, officials said,” the Times reported.
The U.S. has extended its travel restrictions several times before. As The Daily Wire reported in July, the United States announced that land border closures between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada would be extended even as other countries began to open.
Last month, the U.S. “extended restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico through Oct. 21 that bar nonessential travel such as tourism by foreigners despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans,” per Reuters.
While several border state lawmakers have reportedly applauded the action, the Southern border continues to face a crisis of an influx of illegal immigrants.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) August 2021 Operational Update, the “number of unique encounters in August 2021 was 156,641.”
CBP also stated:
In total, there were 208,887 encounters along the Southwest Border, a 2 percent drop compared to July. Of those, 25 percent involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months, compared to an average one-year re-encounter rate of 14 percent for Fiscal Years 2014-2019.
Nearly half (49 percent) of encounters were single adults, with 103,129
The report also noted, “A total of 1,002,722 unique individuals have been encountered year-to-date during Fiscal Year 2021, compared to 851,513 during the same time period in Fiscal Year 2019.”
CBP pointed out:
The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a larger-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border.
Last week, several governors came together to discuss their plan to put a stop to the border crisis created by President Joe Biden and his administration’s policies.
As The Daily Wire reported, “Texas Governor Greg Abbott was joined at the press conference by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.”
The governors released a 10-point plan to end the crisis at the Southern border.