FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesHomeland Security to Open Border With Mexico, Canada for Fully Vaccinated ‘Non-Essential Travelers’

Effective in January, all foreign nationals coming to the United States must be vaccinated, even for “essential travel.”
October 13, 2021
As Americans await the latest report from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on enforcement data for September, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday that the land borders with Canada and Mexico will be open to fully vaccinated “non-essential travelers” with proof of immunization.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also indicated that all foreign nationals traveling to the United States, even for purposes deemed essential, must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 effective at some point in “early January 2022.”

“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we 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,” Mayorkas said in a DHS press release.

“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

DHS also said that the new measures are informed by recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others.

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The Biden administration had previously announced that air travel to the United States would be allowed starting in November for those who are fully vaccinated and testing negative for COVID-19.

Governor Greg Abbott, joined by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and governors from other states impacted by the border crisis, made clear in Mission last week he has no trust in Mayorkas and that the secretary has been misleading the public about border security.

“I cannot count the number of misrepresentations that have been made by Secretary Mayorkas. He has continuously misled the American public, including even saying that the border is closed and secure, which could be nothing further from the truth,” Abbott told reporters.

“I believe Congress should investigate and call upon the resignation of Secretary Mayorkas for abandoning his job, not doing what the Secretary of Homeland Security is supposed to do, which among other things means supporting and deploying border patrol, which are completely lacking and inadequate down here.”

While the latest policy change only affects legal immigration, there were at least 1.5 million enforcement encounters with illegal aliens during Fiscal Year 2021, according to CBP data. The agency reported 208,887 southwest land border arrests in August, tens of thousands of which were with individuals who had tried to cross before.

Mayorkas has also continued the use of Title 42 statutes to expel illegal aliens during the pandemic. He has maintained that it is a public health necessity advised by the CDC, over loud criticisms from those who favor more lenient immigration policies.

According to state data, at least 66,700 Texans have died with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Meanwhile, an estimated 3,885,138 Texans have recovered from the disease and about 15,110,705 are fully vaccinated.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."