Canada immigration news: Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino discussed “a variety of immigration and border-related issues” with his counterpart in Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
But neither country is saying much about the results of that meeting.
A statement from Homeland Security would only say the talk included discussion of traveler screening and information sharing, asylee and refugee protection, and managing migration in the Western Hemisphere, including through expansion of lawful pathways.
“Secretary Mayorkas and Minister Mendicino agreed to enhance efforts to work together to tackle regional migration challenges, including addressing root causes and engaging in collaborative migration management,” noted the statement.
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The feel-good statement, though, said nothing about the current imbalance of travel between the two countries.
The United States is still not allowing Canadians – even if fully-vaccinated – to drive south across the border until at least Aug. 21 despite Canada re-opening to fully-vaccinated Americans on Monday.
Mendicino Respects US Timeline
“The United States is going to make that decision when it is best for them. They respected our decision and we will respect their decision and their timelines,” Mendicino reportedly told The Associated Press.
According to a CBC news report, the United States pre-published a notice in its U.S. Federal Register in which it explained the risk of allowing non-essential travel into the country is still too high.
“Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing specific threat to human life or national interests,” the notice reportedly reads.
When the U.S. announced it would not open to Canadians until Aug. 21 Democrat Congressman Brian Higgins was infuriated.
“For months now people and businesses along the border have been strung along month after month holding out hope for the border to reopen,” Higgins wrote in a statement. “Today’s decision by the Biden administration harms economic recovery and hurts families all across America’s northern border; this is completely unnecessary.
“While the United States does nothing, loved ones remain separated and communities whose economies rely on the cross-border exchange continue to suffer economically. Continuation of this shutdown is illogical given the success of vaccines and counterproductive putting the United States at a disadvantage given Canada’s decision to welcome back vaccinated Americans effective August 9th.”
Twitter Users Outraged
On Twitter, many agreed with Higgins and urged Washington to rescind the decision.
“Disgusting news, very disappointed,” wrote Twitter user Cri Assel. “Did not know double-vaxxed people were such a threat from spreading a virus already present on both sides of the border.”
Another Twitter user who is getting married soon tweeted that Washington’s refusal to open up the border will mean friends and family will be in a bind.
“Even though I have had personal wins lately with my fiancé moving to the states, this decision by @POTUS has hurt us,” wrote Twitter user Gabby Swift. “My own fiancé’s friends and family can’t come to celebrate at our wedding next month but they can spend hundreds of dollars to fly instead of drive five hours.”
Twitter user Scott W. Aalgaard, a Canadian living in the United States, described U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision as awful.
“It’s likely lost him both a lot of credibility here, and a good deal of goodwill from north of the border,” he tweeted.
Higgins, who co-leads the Northern Border Caucus and Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, was pleased by Canada’s decision to re-open the border. He has slammed Washington for refusing to do the same, saying there “no excuse” for the United States keeping the border closed.