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The Biden administration will continue to bar noncitizens from entering the United States at ports of entry along the Canadian and Mexican borders through Sept. 21, marking the 15th month the travel ban has been renewed.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that nonessential travelers from outside the U.S. will not be permitted to travel into America at the country’s land borders despite Canada’s reversing its policy earlier this month.
“To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel,” the DHS said on Twitter. “In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel.”
The U.S. Travel Association lambasted the Biden administration's decision, saying that it costs the U.S. approximately $1.5 billion every month in travel exports on the Canadian border.
“Travel restrictions are no longer protecting us from the virus — vaccines are," U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement. "Every day that our land borders remain closed delays America’s economic and jobs recovery, causing greater damage to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism."
The move is also expected to upset lawmakers who represent congressional districts on the northern and southern borders, who were not happy last month after the White House suspended plans to reopen the borders after initially stating the travel ban would be lifted in August. More than 75 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Biden asking him to reopen the borders.
The borders have been closed since March 20, 2020. People from outside the U.S. are permitted to fly in from abroad.
President Joe Biden vowed to resume normal border operations early in 2021, but he has not done so despite releasing into the U.S. tens of thousands of migrants who illegally crossed the southern border since he took office. Illegal immigration at the southern border hit the highest level in July than any time in the past 21 years.
Under a public health policy rolled out in March 2020, all children and adults who cross the border illegally are supposed to be immediately returned to Mexico or their country of origin. However, the Biden administration is not sending back most families. Children are also not turned away, but released to a sponsor within the U.S. Migrants are not given coronavirus vaccines before they're released from federal custody, and the government does not test those in its custody at the border.
Canada began allowing on Aug. 9 visitors who can prove they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.
The only exceptions to the travel limitations include U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S., people traveling for medical reasons, people going to school, people who work in the farming or agriculture industries, emergency and public health officials, members of the U.S. military, and commercial employees involved in cross-border trade.
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Original Author: Anna Giaritelli