“These new vaccine requirements use the best equipment in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of Covit-19, and will create a consistent, rigorous protocol for all foreigners going to the United States by land or air,” a senior executive told reporters.
The latest restrictions expire on October 21st. Senior executives said the limits for cross-border travel will remain in effect until a release date soon in November.
The Trump-era public health order, which allowed the expeditious expulsion of more than 958,000 immigrants, will also be in effect. Officials said the restrictions, though based on public health, were necessary due to concerns about immigrants in crowded organizations during the process.
Travel restrictions have come under intense scrutiny by campaigners, lawmakers and border mayors, who have called on the Biden administration to adjust the boundaries to meet the growing terrain.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul welcomed the news Tuesday night. “I commend our allies for reopening our borders to Canada, something I have called for since the closure began,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Canada is not only our trading partner, but most importantly, Canadians are our neighbors and friends.”
New York Representative Brian Higgins, a Democrat representing a buffalo area district, announced the decision, saying “strong vaccination rates in Canada make the continued border blockade absurd and unjustifiable.”
“For months, we have heard businesses and families affected by the segment imposed by the continuous border blockade being disturbed. The sigh of relief coming from the northern border communities following this announcement is so loud that it can be heard practically at any end. The bridge of peace.”
When asked about the timeline for reopening the borders, the White House repeatedly pointed to interim work groups formed over the summer. Overseed by the White House Govt-19 Response Team and the National Security Council, these committees include representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as officials from the State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Transportation Departments.
U.S. officials were allies with representatives of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.
“We have seen an apparently increased vaccine availability in Canada, which now has very high vaccination rates, as well as in Mexico. We wanted a consistent approach to both land and air access to this country, so this is the next step to align them,” the senior executive said.
The United States has previously told Canadians that the Biden administration wants to have symmetrical rules on both land borders, a source familiar with the debate told CNN that despite the different circumstances and conflicts of air travel rules on both borders.
The U.S.-Mexico border faces the influx of immigrants, which has increased resources, raising some concerns among U.S. customs and border security officials about easing travel restrictions on the U.S. southern border, while also raising staff to assist immigrants.
Another senior executive said the CBP will be charged for enforcing the newly announced vaccine requirement, including certifying vaccine status and spot-checking passengers to check vaccine status through paper or digital. Testing will not be required.
This story was updated with reaction.
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