The Biden Administration is extending non-essential travel restrictions for the U.S. northern and southern borders until August 21. The President and his administration are now facing increasing pressure from allies and the travel industry to lift the restrictions.
Officials said that Biden is trying to avoid the situation where the restrictions are lifted only to be put in place again in the near future. With the vaccination rate declining in the U.S. and the cases of Covid-19 and Delta variant rising, it’s been a tough decision for Biden and his administration.
When asked about why Canada had reopened its border before the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We rely on the guidance of our health and medical experts, not on the actions of other countries.”
Psaki continued, “There are ongoing discussions between the working groups and, of course, updates and briefings with our health and medical experts about what it is safe to do. We will be guided by science, and I don’t have any prediction of what the timeline looks like.”
Many also criticized Biden’s lack of response to the topic; Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins of New York, who chairs the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, said, “It is extremely frustrating that the United States government has failed to reciprocate current family exemptions already allowed by the Canadian government and failed to show a lack of urgency to make any progress on this side of the border toward lifting restrictions.”
However, the Department of Homeland Security still found the continuing increase of virus cases still posed a risk to the country. A DHS spokesperson said, “The agency is in constant contact with Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”
The traveling and immigration restrictions remain in effect until August 21, unless amended or rescinded before that time.