February 21, 2024

Travelers arrive in Chicago, Illinois for flights at O’Hare International Airport on March 16, 2021.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Biden’s government plans to ease restrictions on travel across borders with Mexico and Canada, as well as domestic international travel from the UK, Europe and Brazil, in mid-May, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

While there was no policy memo or formal codification of this timeframe, the current discussion has focused on trying to limit the spread of variants domestically, as the municipalities themselves decide how quickly the reopening should take place. Meanwhile, officials have suggested that President Joe Biden and his Covid Task Force need more time to be comfortable with the borders reopening and the increase in overseas air traffic.

“There will be a major change in mid-May when vaccines are available to everyone,” said a senior administration official.

The White House did not respond to email requests for comment prior to its release.

The Department of Homeland Security announced a one-month extension of the ban on land crossings at the borders with Canada and Mexico until April 21. The earlier expiration dates, renewed a month ago, were scheduled for March 21st.

The Biden government is grappling with spikes in migration on the southern border, with the number of unaccompanied minors overwhelming shelters and the number of adults arrested reaching a 20-year high. The US has been pushing Mexico to do more to control the flow of migration – in addition to enforcing the testing and masking protocol to limit the spread of Covid.

Meanwhile, an official on the northern border said Canada had asked the US to keep the border closed until citizens there had access to vaccines. In a joint communique following a bilateral meeting in late February, Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau said they had “agreed to take a coordinated approach based on science and public health when taking action to ease border restrictions between Canada and the US.” the future will be considered “.

For international air travel from Great Britain, Europe and Brazil, the interagency working groups in the Biden administration have agreed to re-examine the topic weekly as soon as new data is available. Public health experts have raised concerns about welcoming new varieties that could spread quickly in fast-opening communities, while other officials have noted that all international travelers must pass negative tests before boarding. According to sources, these two views have balanced each other out in deliberations.

Prior to leaving office, former President Donald Trump lifted restrictions on entry from Allied countries, despite rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the US. Biden restored the restrictions in his first week in office.

“With the pandemic worsening and contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted on January 25 as the government reinstated the borders.