The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed until Aug. 21, several days after Canada announced that as of Aug. 9, it would open its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States, for the first time in more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homeland Security, which oversees both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, didn’t issue a statement about the extension of the restrictions but instead posted notices to the Federal Register.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in the notices (pdf), said that that there have been “positive developments in recent weeks” regarding vaccines and the number of COVID-19 cases. The agency noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moved Canada and Mexico from its Level 4, or “Very High,” rating to Level 3, or “High,” which relates to the number of COVID-19 cases.
Still, according to the DHS, outbreaks and the continued spread of COVID-19 globally and in the United States pose a risk.
“This document announces the decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security to continue to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States–Canada border. Such travel will be limited to ‘essential travel,'” the notice, which was dated July 20, reads. The restrictions will start on July 22 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Aug. 21 unless the agency amends the decision.
In the Federal Register notices, Mayorkas and the DHS didn’t mention the continued surge of illegal immigrants streaming across the U.S.–Mexico border—many of whom aren’t vaccinated or may transmit COVID-19. Border Patrol agents apprehended 188,000 people who illegally crossed the southern border in June, up about 8,000 from May, according to the most recent data released by the agency.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The DHS-backed extension comes after Canada’s Public Health Agency announced that U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States who have received both COVID-19 vaccine doses can cross the border for so-called non-essential travel.
“Entry to Canada will continue to be prohibited for U.S. travelers who are not fully vaccinated and for all other foreign nationals, unless they already meet an exemption set out in the Orders made under the Quarantine Act,” the Canadian government’s statement said, adding that some restrictions may apply.
Travelers, according to Canada’s health agency, will need to provide Canadian authorities with “a suitable quarantine plan” and will have to “be prepared to quarantine” if they want to enter.
People from Canada and Mexico have been allowed to fly into the United States if they can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from the virus. Canada hasn’t allowed Americans to do the same.
DHS has continued to extend the restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020.