The agency said it would extend its Title 19 requirements, which gives the administration the power to continue to enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for noncitizen travelers. Those travelers who try to enter the country will need to produce a written record of vaccination from a government health agency or ministry as they show their passport and other documentation to Customs and Border Protection agents.
“These requirements will continue to apply to non-U.S. travelers who are traveling both for essential and non-essential reasons, and do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals,” the agency said, adding that those requirements are being done in “consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several other federal agencies.”
Testing for COVID-19, however, won’t be mandated to enter the United States, the agency said. Migrants also will have to verbally attest to their vaccination status along with producing the relevant documents to enter the country.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting public health while facilitating lawful trade and travel, which is essential to our economic security,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement.
He added: “That is why, after consulting with CDC and other federal agencies, DHS will continue to require non-U.S. individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.”
The department didn’t provide an expiration date for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, although it noted that it could “amend or rescind the requirements at any time.”
“In determining whether and when to rescind this order, DHS anticipates that it will take account of whether the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. air travelers remains in place,” DHS’s statement continued.
Several weeks ago, the CDC said that it would rescind the Title 42 rule that blocked numerous illegal immigrants from entering the United States, saying that the order would end on May 23. Republicans and even some Democrats flagged the decision as one that would potentially trigger a huge wave of illegal immigration for the remainder of the 2022 fiscal year.
This week, more Democrats sounded the alarm on ending the policy and suggested that it would imperil their chances of reelection in 2022.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is running for Ohio’s Senate seat, told Fox News that removing the policy is “wrong and reckless.”
“The administration’s decision to roll back Title 42 is wrong and reckless,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “Prematurely ending this policy without a path forward does nothing to keep Americans safe, support our Border Patrol agents, protect asylum-seekers, or bring about the comprehensive fix our immigration system needs.”