US reaffirms land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico

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The United States will keep its land borders with Mexico and Canada closed to all non-essential travel for at least another month, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday, and extended its travel restrictions just days after Canadian officials announced they would soon be back to US travelers would be opened.

“To reduce the spread of Covid-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel on our land and ferry crossings to Canada and Mexico through August 21,” a department spokesman said in an email. “The DHS is in constant contact with Canadian and Mexican colleagues to determine the conditions under which restrictions can be relaxed safely and sustainably.”

The United States closed land borders with its two neighbors in March 2020 to limit the spread of the virus. The DHS has since renewed the restrictions every month in coordination with the Canadian and Mexican authorities.

On Monday, Canadian officials said American travelers could enter the country from August 9, provided they were fully vaccinated with a government-approved vaccine for at least 14 days.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the United States “continues to review our travel restrictions,” but that “all decisions about reopening travel are guided by our public health and medical experts,” and not strictly necessary for Reciprocity.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference Tuesday that he thought it was up to individual countries to decide their own border restrictions.

“Each country can set its own rules for the safety of its citizens,” said Trudeau.

Insignificant travel restrictions to Canada and Mexico do not apply to air, rail, or ocean freight, and land travel is still allowed for many reasons, including business, medical purposes, and education. All international air travelers to the United States must provide a negative coronavirus test within three days of departure or proof of recovery from the virus within 90 days.

Canada made the reopening decision based on its vaccination progress – more than three-quarters of the country had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Canadian government data, a far higher percentage than the United States, where just over 56 percent of the population has, according to the centers for Disease Control and Prevention receive at least one dose.

Residents on both sides of the border have pushed for a reopening, as have US politicians from both parties.

Brian Higgins, a congressman representing a border district in western New York City, said in a statement Wednesday that “today’s decision by the Biden administration will affect economic recovery and harm families across America’s northern border; that is completely unnecessary. “

Mexican officials recently expressed hope that the United States would agree to open their common border. A vaccination program in northern Mexico has also been ramped up. “We are working to ensure that the economic and social activity on the border can be regulated as quickly as possible,” Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told Forbes Mexico this month.

American citizens can travel to Mexico for whatever reason – to buy cheaper goods, access cheaper health care, or because they live in Mexico and commute to work in the US – but the border closure has resulted in many companies losing customers and were forced to close.

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