US to reopen land borders in November for vaccinated travelers
The United States will reopen its land borders with Mexico and Canada for non-essential travels from November onwards. However, all such travelers would need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit the country. The move will end the 19-month-long curb on non-essential travel to the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are more details.
By mid-January, essential travelers would also be required to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. The new rules would be announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday. The latest move follows last month's announcement by the US that country-based travel bans for air travel will be lifted effective November and vaccination will be made the primary criterion.
Hinting at the new rules to ease restrictions, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said, "Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end."
Both Mexico and Canada have been pressing the US to ease restrictions on travel. The countries were concerned about the impact that the travel ban has had on the general public, resulting in separated families and curtailed leisure trips. However, the precise date in November when both land and air travel restrictions would be lifted is not yet confirmed.
Unlike air travel, no COVID-19 negative test results will be required to enter the US by land or sea, Associated Press reported. The vaccination status of travelers entering the US by land, rail, or ferry will be checked by the US Customs and Border Patrol. The travelers will be required to provide their vaccination proof in a secondary inspection if officials ask for it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintained that the US would accept all travelers who have been vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Notably, AstraZeneca was the most widely used COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. CDC is also reportedly working on procedures to accept those who have been jabbed with two different vaccines.
Officials told AP that the new rules would only apply to legal entry, and any illegal immigration will be subject to expulsion under Title 42 authority. To note, Title 42 was first invoked by former President Donald Trump, which denies migrants from seeking asylum in the US. This had also sparked sharp criticism from immigration advocates.