EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The U.S. government has extended non-essential travel restrictions, which were set to expire Thursday night, through Jan. 21, 2022.
However, the announcement published Thursday afternoon in the Federal Register makes it clear that the Secretary of Homeland Security intends to exempt individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The notice doesn’t address the date for the fully vaccinated to be exempted, but the White House told reporters earlier it would be on Nov. 8.
“This notification announces the decision of the Secretary to continue to temporarily limit the non-essential travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the (border)” to those who are unvaccinated, the notification states.
DHS says the changes bring land ports into alignment with policies already in place at airports.
The restrictions were implemented in March 2020 to reduce the cross-border spread of COVID-19. They included tourism and shopping but made exceptions for commerce, legitimate business travel and education, among others. Returning U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents were also able to come back into the country.
Thursday’s notification empowers U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to continue enforcing the travel ban on people who are unvaccinated and aren’t coming to the U.S. on essential business. In January, everyone including those traveling for essential purposes must be fully vaccinated, the White House said earlier.