The United States will allow fully vaccinated legal travelers to enter the country through land borders in Canada and Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is expected to announce on Wednesday.
Starting early next month, non-essential travelers, such as those entering for tourism or to visit family members, will be required to show proof of Covid vaccination to customs and border protection officials when ‘they cross land borders. A similar policy, previously announced, will also come into effect at the same time for air travelers entering the United States.
Towards the start of the new year, essential travelers, such as truck drivers crossing the land borders of the United States, will also need to be fully immunized. Officials said the delay would give essential workers time to get vaccinated without disrupting trade.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, only “essential travel” has been permitted across Canadian and Mexican borders, separating many family members and loved ones. However, essential travel was allowed regardless of immunization status.
“We understand how valuable cross-border travel from Canada and Mexico is to economic activity in border communities and to our economy in general. We also know how important the ability to travel is in maintaining personal connections with people living on both sides of the northern and southern borders of the United States who are often indeed members of the same community, ”said one of the officials.
The Department of Homeland Security is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the documents that will be needed to prove vaccine status, and it has yet to set policy start dates for November and January.
The new policy will apply only to legal travel, not to undocumented immigrants, like the nearly 30,000 Haitians who arrived at the US-Texas border last month. Undocumented immigrants will still be subject to a public health law known as Title 42, which allows DHS to deport all migrants except children who arrive unaccompanied during certain public health emergencies. whether or not they are considering seeking asylum.
Officials said the increase in the number of vaccinations in Mexico and Canada prompted them to revise the policy.