The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the COVID-19-related restrictions on nonessential travel between the United States, Mexico, and Canada until July 21.
“To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade & travel,” the department wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday noted that that border restrictions are causing frustration. Canada announced its own extension on Friday of the requirements that were set to expire on Monday.
“I get it, it’s frustrating to a whole bunch of people that just want to get back to normal,” he said, adding that he wants 75 percent of Canadians to get vaccinated first before opening the border again. “But, it’s really important that we have from the very beginning to keep Canadians safe.”
Some House lawmakers and border communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic restrictions have pushed to relax them ahead of the busy summer travel season. They have also noted the apparent hypocrisy in keeping the border closed for official travel amid a surge of illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.
“The inability of the U.S. and Canadian governments to reach an agreement on alleviating border restrictions … is simply unacceptable,” Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, said in a joint statement on June 18.
The two lawmakers also panned the apparent “lack of transparency surrounding these negotiations,” adding that they are “a disservice to our constituents and the millions of residents on both sides of the border waiting to see their loved ones, visit their property, and renew business ties,” according to their statement, noting that the “arrival of vaccines in record time has been a modern marvel.”
Higgins was more forceful on Twitter following Trudeau’s announcement last week.
“There’s no other way to say it: another month’s delay is [expletive],” he wrote in a tweet.
The United States is also holding working-group meetings on relaxing travel restrictions with the UK and the European Union, but U.S. and airline officials said previously they did not expect the Biden administration to lift the restrictions until around July 4 at the earliest.
Reuters and Epoch Times contributed to this report.