US to reopen land borders between Mexico and Canada

By Sarah Pollok

From November, the Biden administration will lift travel restrictions at the borders with Mexico and Canada, allowing fully vaccinated travellers to visit by land and ferry crossing points.

Air travel will also be allowed for those who can provide a negative Covid-19 test.

Travel into the US from Mexico and Canada has been severely limited since March 2020 and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said they looked forward to this next step towards the future.

"We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner," he said in a statement.

An exact date in November is yet to be announced but an official told Reuters it would be shared "very soon".

For essential travellers, who were never banned from crossing land borders, major change won't come till January 2022.

As, by this time, individuals such as healthcare workers, US citizens, truck drivers and students will have to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the US from Mexico or Canada.

The approach will allow "ample time" for essential travellers to get vaccinated according to the Department of Homeland Security.

US lawmakers with constituencies along Canada's border have appraised the plans to reopen.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said the reopening would be "welcome news" to many businesses, families, medical providers and loved ones who depend on border travel to and from Canada.

Chuck Schumer, the Democrats' Senate Majority Leader, also agreed.

"Kudos to President Biden for doing the right thing and increasing cross border travel between Canada and the US," he said.

Congresswoman Elise Stefani also voiced her approval for the plan.

Fully vaccinated American's have been able to visit Canada since August 9 while Mexico's border has been open during the entire pandemic.

November will also be when another opening in the US takes place.

As from November, non-US citizens who have travelled to the UK, China, India, South Africa and several European countries in the past 14 days can return to the US.

A law that allows undocumented migrants to be immediately expelled to prevent Covid-19 spread will remain in place.

The border legislation, called Title 42, has been the source of much controversy as it makes accessing asylum more difficult for Mexican migrants.

Since the pandemic began, the US have recorded approximately 44.5 million coronavirus cases and more than 716,000 deaths.

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