by Alberto Galvi –
On March 21, the United States entered into agreements with Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. The United States’ DHS is part of a strategy to stop the spread of the virus in the North American region.
The economies of Canada and the United States are highly integrated allowing trade to continue thus avoiding major problems for the automotive sector as well as the transportation of food and medicine.
Canada sends 75% of its exports to the United States, while approximately 18% of American exports go to Canada. The border between the United States and Canada is the longest in the world between 2 countries.
For this reason, Americans who are returning to America and Canadians returning to Canada are exempt from closing the border.
The essential cross-border workers who are still allowed to cross the border are: airline crews, health workers and truck drivers.
Workers traveling across land borders must have documentation that proves their work is essential. Subsequently, the documentation must be delivered to the CBP which will provide further evidence to support their declarations.
For this reason it is imperative that employers confirm the position of their employees before they try to enter across the border.
Relations between Canada and the United States have steadily improved over the past 18 months, until Canada has rejected a U.S. proposal to deploy troops along the border to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, prompting the United States to give up on this project.
On May 26, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the border is porous in some parts, so the agreement will be extended for about a month. Canada’s restrictions were announced on March 18 and extended in April. These measures were again extended until 22 June 2020.
For the first time since mid-March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in recent days that restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus for both Canada and Mexico would be extended until June 22.
These 3 countries confirmed that normal operations and access processes will be limited to only travelers engaged in essential travel. DHS will have the discretion to determine what qualifies as essential travel.
The authorities can also validate other types of essential travel apart from those for certain types of work such as those of individuals traveling for health and education reasons, etc., as long as they have valid travel documents.
In addition, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) will no longer detain illegal immigrants in U.S. detention facilities and will immediately return these immigrants to the country they entered such as Canada or Mexico. Where this return is not possible, CBP will bring these immigrants back to their country of origin.
The governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada are continuing to take the necessary measures to fight this pandemic together. Canadians fear a reopening as the United States has more confirmed cases and deaths from Covid-19 than any other country in the world.
The Mexican and US government, after examining the spread from Covid-19 in their own countries, instead decided to leave the restrictions implemented on March 21 unchanged.