The US will lift restrictions at its land border crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in November, ending restrictions non-essential travelers that have been in place since March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that vaccine mandates are only for Americans and would not be imposed on migrants who cross into the US illegally. There have been hundreds of thousands of illegal crossings since the Biden administration took office.
The rules for travel by land borders and ferry crossings are expected to be announced by US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday and the information was delivered to Congress on Tuesday.
Foreign visitors crossing into the US by land or ferry will not necessarily need to show proof of vaccination unless they are referred to secondary inspections by US Customs and Border Patrol, according to Reuters.
In comparison, all non-US air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Unvaccinated visitors will still be prohibited from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land borders. Yet, hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants crossing the southern border have been crossing since January, regardless of vaccination status.
According to Reuters. "The Biden administration emphasized that the White House would not lift the 'Title 42' order put in place by former President Donald Trump's administration that has essentially cut off access to asylum for hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to enter from Mexico."
On August 9, Canada began allowing fully vaccinated US visitors to cross for non-essential travel.
Lawmakers and officials across the US have been leaning on the White House to lift restrictions that have barred travel for 19 months. Many border towns and cities have been hit hard economically by the closure, and many along the southern border have been heavily impacted by the arrivals of thousands of migrants crossing into the US per day, with the administration doing little to stop them.
The Biden administration announced September 20 that the US would lift travel restrictions on air travelers in November from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated, and that it would extend vaccine requirements to foreign air travelers from all other countries.