Biden Administration to Reopen Land Borders to Nonessential Travel Next Month, Ending a 19-month Freeze

Editor at Global Perspectives

Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been restricted to essential business. Under orders from the Biden Administration, fully vaccinated foreign nationals may enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in November.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the negative economic impact was hard to quantify. The decision comes at a critical time ahead of the holiday shopping season, making financial sense, despite the backlash over the choice to fire nurses across the country for not wanting to get vaccinated even though they were willing to take weekly COVID tests.

"In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65% of retail sales," Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce, told the Associated Press. “Along the border, we’re like more of one community than two different communities,” she said.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed into Canada since August. Mexico has not enforced COVID-19 entry procedures for land travelers.

"Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement," said a Department of Homeland Security official.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner” and lauded the economic benefits of it.

Mexico, Canada, and elected officials from U.S. border regions have pressured the Biden administration for months to ease restrictions.

Interestingly, economics seems to drive the media narrative around the safety or danger of different groups at selective times.

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