DHS to require vaccines for essential and non-essential travelers

Local News

MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced non-essential travel by land or ferry will be open to Canada and Mexico, requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated.

Rio Grande Valley mayors said this is a positive thing for the region, pointing towards economic growth.

“It’s an economic impact that has been on the red right now that’s going to move over to the black, and as mayors, we love the black side of finances,” said City of Mission Mayor Dr. Armando O’Caña.

Red meaning debt and black meaning profit, McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said he agrees his city could replace some financial loss.

“We have been losing a lot of revenue on the bridges so once we start getting that, our area is going to be amazing,” said Villalobos.

The city of Brownsville, known for its sister-city alliance with Matamoros, Mexico, is excited about the recent announcement from DHS, according to Mayor Trey Mendez.

“This is an important announcement for the economic well-being of our region and especially for those in our community who were unable to see members of their family during the past year and a half,” Mendez said. “I received a call from Secretary Mayorkas this morning to share the news and to let us know that he understood what this meant for us on the border.”

Trey Mendez, Brownsville City Mayor

ValleyCentral reached out to CBP for more information on how they will check for proof of vaccinations at points of entry but did not provide any more information.

According to the press release from DHS, non-essential travel will resume in November 2021.

Mayor Villalobos said directions from the White House have been vague.

“I don’t think that anybody knows right now and I think that’s the reason for the period, it won’t begin until about a month from now,” said Villalobos.

What is known is by January 2022, all travelers, essential and non-essential, must be vaccinated to enter the U.S. via land or ferry.

“However, starting January 1 essential workers will have to be vaccinated or else they will not be allowed in,” said Villalobos.

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