Canada immigration news: The United States is planning to open its borders to fully-vaccinated Canadians starting in November after almost 19 months – but the exact date has not been determined.
“At long last, there is action by the U.S. to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbours beginning in November,” tweeted New York Congressman Brian Higgins today.
“This is good news for businesses and families that have suffered under the continued border shutdown.”
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In a statement, Higgins lambasted Washington for not re-opening the border sooner.
Canada’s Strong Vaccination Program Made Re-Opening Possible
“Strong vaccination rates in Canada made the continued border shutdown absurd and unjustifiable,” he said.
“For months now, we’ve heard from businesses that are suffering and families distraught over the separation imposed by the continued border shutdown. The sigh of relief coming from northern border communities following this announcement is so loud it can practically be heard on either end of the Peace Bridge.”
The United States Department of Homeland Security is going to amend its Title 19 regulations to allow non-essential travelers who have been fully-vaccinated for Covid-19 and have documentation to prove it to enter the country at land and ferry ports of entry.
The move comes at the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and public health experts in the United States and was announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” he said.
“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The U.S. is also planning to allow in fully-vaccinated foreign nationals starting in early January.
Details of Re-Opening Being Discussed
Although the exact date for the re-opening of the Canada-U.S. border has not yet been set, Canadian officials are working with their counterparts south of the border to finalize things.
“We are working to clarify and finalize all the details with our American partners,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, reportedly said.
While support for the re-opening was immediate on social media, that enthusiasm was also tempered with caution as stakeholders on both sides of the border wait to learn of the details.
The Future Borders Coalition, an organization promoting efficiency and security at the border, supported the re-opening Wednesday but indicated it wants more information on how everything will play out.
“We await details on testing protocols and other entry requirements. Adequate Customs Border Patrol staffing at the border and proof of vaccination solutions are essential to avoid delays,” the organization tweeted.
Let Us Reunite, a volunteer organization that’s been lobbying for travel exemptions to allow families to reunite across the Canada-U.S. border, echoed those sentiments.
“We look forward to an official briefing that includes details on the implementation date, clarity on those who received vaccine mixed doses, and for children under 12 who are unable to be vaccinated,” the organization tweeted.