The U.S. is keeping its borders with Canada and Mexico closed to non-essential travel for at least another month, and our northern neighbors aren’t thrilled about it.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of the border restrictions that have been in place since March of 2020. It will keep U.S. borders closed to tourists and other visitors who fall under the non-essential classification until Sept. 21, 2021. The decision by DHS comes less than two weeks after Canada reopened its borders to American visitors who are fully vaccinated.
Canadian officials publicly expressed frustration with the U.S.’s decision to keep the restrictions in place.
From The Washington Post:
Mark Agnew, senior vice president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, told Canada’s CBC News that he was “disappointed” in the U.S. decision.
“This creates confusion for travelers when all our members repeatedly tell us they are seeking predictability,” Agnew said. “This also distracts from the efforts that should be put into developing interoperable digital health credentials.”
The governor of Mexican state Baja California, also isn’t happy that the U.S. isn’t freeing up travel to that country. Jaime Bonilla said last month that there is no reason for a further extension of border restrictions and that keeping them in place actually hurts the state of California more than it does his territory. Last month, Bonilla said his area has done “everything that was asked from them by the United States,” including getting more than 70% of its population vaccinated against COVID-19.
The frustration of Canadians and Mexicans echoes that of European nations who want President Biden to relax travel restrictions into the U.S. as they seek to rejuvenate the international travel industry. Vaccination rates are actually higher in Canada and in parts of Europe than they are in the U.S., which is why critics say the ban on nonessential travel here in the states doesn’t make much sense.
There are some members of Congress who also want to see the White House change its tune on the border restrictions, including Rep. Brian Higgins from New York. The Democrat represents the northern border counties of Niagara and Erie, and co-chairs the Northern Border Caucus. He tweeted his displeasure with the DHS news: