12:27AM Oct 13, 2021
Eastern tomorrow morning on climate and for a few questions. Today's call is related to the border policy. On today's call, we have Natalie brilliant, White House deputy coordinator, Gary Ross, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DHS for countering weapons of mass destruction, and Serena Boyd, Assistant Secretary for international affairs. And with that Natalie will speak and and Gary will speak in more time for a few questions.
Thanks, Kevin, and thanks everybody for joining us tonight. Last month, the President announced a new system for international air travel to the United States, which will begin in early November. At the core of this new system will be a requirement that inbound foreign national air travelers to the United States be fully vaccinated. Today and Tomorrow, we are announcing that we are will be implementing similar requirements before nationals traveling across the land border from Canada and Mexico. To be fully vaccinated is an important step that will further enhance the safety of international travel and the safety of Americans at home. We know vaccines are the best line of defense against COVID-19. Nearly 263 million people across the US Canada and Mexico are now fully vaccinated. And vaccination coverage continues to increase in all countries. So these new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. And we'll create a consistent stringent protocols for all foreign nationals traveling into the United States, whether by land or air. These new vaccine vaccination requirements will go into effect in two phases. The first phase will start in early November alongside the new international air travel system. Starting in early November, we will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico and Canada to enter the United States for non essential reasons, such as to visit friends and family or for tourism. unvaccinated travelers will still be prohibited from traveling to United States for non essential reasons. The second phase will begin in early January of 2022. Starting in the new year, we will require that inbound foreign national travelers crossing the lands borders, be fully vaccinated whether traveling for essential or non essential reason. This phased approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers and others to get fascinated enabling a smooth transition to this new system. We understand how valuable the cross border travel of travel from Canada and Mexico is to the economic activity in border communities and to our broader economy. And we also know how meaningful the ability to travel is to maintain the personal ties between people living on either side of the northern and southern US borders, who are often effectively members of one community. And we are pleased to be able to move forward with these strict protocols and ensure cross border travel can occur in a safe and sustainable manner. We now turn it to Gary who's going to add at some points from DHS, Gary.
Hey, good evening, everyone. Tomorrow, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas will announce that the Department of Homeland Security will amend the title 19 regulations to allow for nationals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and had the appropriate paperwork to enter the United States, the land and very ports of entry across the US border for non essential reasons. Starting in early November. cross border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits the broader economy. And we are pleased to be taking these steps to resume travel in a safe and sustainable manner starting early October. Importantly, the changes we are announcing apply the land border crossings that are legal, and to those foreign nationals who have appropriate documentation tend to the United States. Any foreign nationals attempting to attempting to enter the United States irregularly through any illegal means or without the proper documentation will be subject to border restrictions, including expulsive. US Customs and Border Protection will lead the enforcement of the vaccination requirement in the at the border in boldface. This will include things like seeking attestations of vaccine vaccination status, and spot checking travelers for verification of vaccinate. vaccination status, either via paper, or digital means. A foreign traveler who is not vaccinated would not be permitted to enter the United States and will instead be allowed to withdraw their application for admission and return to Canada or Mexico. The new travel system will create consistent and stringent protocols for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States, whether by air, land or ferry, and as that Natalie mentioned, this action is guarded by public health and the science and ensures that we are using the best tools we have to protect people from COVID-19 and the safety of cross border traffic. Back to you.
much. Now we have time for a few questions. First question, we will go to James is Martin with the Canadian crowd? I can hear me. Yep.
Things real quick. You mentioned paper or digital. Do you guys have any more details as far as what specifically what kind of paperwork is going to be required? And secondly, is there been a decision made yet on the question of mixed dose vaccinations? There's a lot of people in Canada who have received doses of two different vaccines, is that going to be considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of crossing the border?
Thanks. Thanks, James is now on the second question. And we are CDC is working through that question exactly, both for air and land. And so they'll they'll give that guidance in the coming week. And on the first question on papers, maybe Gary, can I pick that for
you? Sure, yeah. We're working closely with CDC on that, and we're working with them on both the land and the air. And we should get the decision in the coming days as to what the proper proper documentation looks like. We're also working very closely with the Canadians in the Mexicans as well on on what their experiences have been and the other international workgroups that we've had, so expect that to come in the next couple of days.
All right, thank you. Next question was Camilo Antonio Galvin?
Hi, can you hear me? Okay, great. No, thanks for doing this. I know the DHS representative mentioned that cross the border illegally will still be subject to expulsion, I'm guessing the first the title 42. Do you see this headline team filled on non essential travel, undermine the administration's justification for continuing to use title 42 to expel migrants and asylum seekers? And if not, can you explain why not and what the differences are in the argument?
Thanks for that. I'm going to turn that over to Serena.
So yes, there, I think it's first important to make clear that there are two different populations at issue with title 19 that deals with folks who have a lawful right to enter and will be passing quickly through the port of entry. With title 42, that deals with folks who do not have a lawful identify irregular migrants who are generally passing in between the ports of entry. And those folks will be held in are generally held in congregate settings. And that's the real concern. Here if there's, I don't know if you've ever seen the inside of a border patrol station, but they're really not built for Nora ports of entry built to hold folks in any kind of a way where one could socially distance there's they're not set up for a global pandemic situation. So that's really the title 42 restrictions are really about protecting the migrants themselves the DHS workforce and local communities. So I think there's a strong public health basis for continuing for the moment given current conditions to continue with the title 42 restrictions for those who would be apprehended between ports of entry.
And family. I think that's right. And I would just add that Once fully employed, this will actually be a stricter system in terms of COVID protocols and would have currently in place on title 19. And so we think this is the right way to go. In terms of public health.
Great next question was who is Zeke Miller he?
Hey, hear me. Yeah.
Thanks for doing this and help you to clarify when in early November, this in the air travel on the new air travel, see, okay, again, you know, you know, couple weeks away here now and obviously people are looking for some clarity to begin making travel plans. And then separately, if you go into a little bit more detail about the verification of the landlord Because we mentioned CDT will will take the lead in terms of doing spot checks. That doesn't mean you're checking every person who's crossing the border or their vaccination status. Is that is that that is that going to be the case? And what and how? Why is that different from the air travel procedures where that's checked by everyone's checked by the airlines in the CDU? peverel? there as well?
I think those are those are good questions. I'll take the first one that maybe Gary, you can take the second. So on the exact date, you know, the initial changes, as I said, both for this and the air will go and play into effect in early November. We don't have an exact date at this time. But we anticipate being on not that precise date very soon for both air and land. And like I said, they'll they'll go together. Gary, do I ask the question on the implementation and the checks?
Yeah, sure. So during the primary interaction with the CBP officer, you will be questioned about your vaccine status if you're a non essential traveler right now and then, based on the CBP, officers discretion, some people will be sent to secondary and have their documents checked. And CBP does this everyday for everything they check for. So we're just keeping with their normal but since rolls over.
Alright, time for a few more questions. The next question was sort of Richard Madden at CTV national news in Canada.
Thanks for doing this. I
I just wanted to follow up on an earlier question about the next dose vaccine. curious if you will also recognize AstraZeneca, which is available in Canada but was not available in the US.
Thank you for a really good question. As I mentioned, we will look to CDC for the appropriate definition or their appropriate decisions on which vaccines will be allowed. But what I can say is that CDC let airlines know last week that all of the FDA and importantly for AV the wh o authorized and approved vaccines would be accepted to meet the vaccination requirement for air travel. While Cz has made a final determination here, I think we anticipate that that will be the same for land travel as well. And so that would count AV because it is under a who emergency use listing.
If we have time for one more question, let's go to Dave Shepherdson on Reuters.
Hey, thanks for doing this just Can I ask you to walk through the logistics? Are you going to extend the 30 day restrictions again or we you will by that point that we have but the 21st you have the firm date that you're going to lift or amend their restrictions? And then can you just talk about what else the other steps you still have to complete in order to get the international air travel restrictions lifted, including publishing the contact tracing order, and getting the remaining guidance to the airlines about how they will deal with exemptions or other some of the other technical issues have not been finalized?
Gary, you want to take the first question on the exact steps b2b talent keen and then I can take the air travel?
Sure, what we will do is we will extend the current title 19 on October 21, likely to the date that we decide in November and and if we don't have that date, when it's time to extend it, we will certainly be signaling that this will be an extension until we are opening are creating the exemption within title 19 for fully vaccinated non essential travelers. So we will extend it through the date when the air takes place, and then from then on out. Title 19 will be will restrict only unvaccinated non essential travelers over
your question airtron was a good one. You know, you mentioned a few things. We're working through the contact tracing order, which is really important here both for this pandemic and potential future pandemics, the testing order, we have our plans and the logistics on limited exemptions that will be part of that. And so as you can imagine there's lots of moving pieces and parts, lots of different agencies from the CDC to DHS, obviously the department that we're working through all the pieces, as I mentioned on the answer to the land border, we don't have an exact date for you yet but we expect to have that very soon.
All right, and last question, let's put personal Alvarez had seen it
Hi, thanks so much for doing this. Just piggybacking off that real quick, logistical question, Is there going to be any testing requirement? And could you answer why you decided this month to ease the restrictions? This has been an ongoing renewal since the onset of the pandemic, and there have been calls to easy's prior to this month. So curious what went into your analysis to do it now.
those are those are good questions, Natalie. No, there will not be a testing requirement. There's not one in place now. And the vaccination requirement will will be put in place as I mentioned, on your second question, why now, look, we've been working for a week, both DHS across the interagency on on a plan to do this safely, and not increased the risk to Americans. We have seen increased vaccine availability, obviously in Canada, which now have very high vaccination rates, as well as in Mexico. And we wanted as Gary mentioned, we want to have a consistent approach to both land and air entry into this country. So this is the next step to bring those into alignment. So that's why we're pursuing it now. And we think this system will make it safer, both for Americans over the long run.
Alright, well, thank you, everybody for joining as a reminder, this call was attributable to administration ear administration officials, embargoed until tomorrow morning at 5am. Goodbye