New York Congressman calls decision to extend border closures with Canada and Mexico a ‘huge mistake’
The United States will keep its land borders with Canada and Mexico closed to non-essential travel until September 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Friday.
The move to extend the ban on land and ferry crossings for an extra 30 days comes after Canada said it would allow in fully vaccinated US tourists from 9 August.
The borders have been closed since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced countries to seal borders to prevent the spread of the virus.
Air travel is still permitted between the three countries.
In a statement on Twitter, the DHS said the extension was necessary to minimise the spread of Covid-19, and essential trade and travel would continue to flow.
“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,” DHS said on Twitter.
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.
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) August 20, 2021
Airline officials expect the ban to potentially remain in place for months, severely limiting cross-border travel during what is usually the summer peak season, Reuters reports.
US citizens and lawful permanent residents are still permitted to return.
Non-US citizens who have travelled to the United Kingdom, Europe, Brazil, China, Ireland, India or South Africa in the past 14 days are barred from entering the US.
The failure to make opening the U.S. – Canada border the priority that it should be is a huge mistake. It is beyond disappointing; it is hurtful both at a human and economic level. @LetUsReunite
Full Statement: pic.twitter.com/rHAR6hbHzi
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) August 20, 2021
The Biden administration is considering making it compulsory for foreign travellers to be vaccinated before being allowed to enter the US.
When asked if he would consider shutting down the border to US citizens again, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday the risk of welcoming fully vaccinated people was “minimal”.
New York Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins called the decision “beyond disappointing”.
“The failure to make opening the U.S. – Canada border the priority that it should be is a huge mistake,” he said.