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Lines of vehicles stretched for miles at ports of entry into the U.S. from Mexico following the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions on foreigners by the Biden administration on Sunday.
Travel into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada has been restricted mostly to workers whose jobs were deemed essential after then-President Donald Trump put the travel ban in place in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world and the country.
The Daily Mail reported that lines were so long and moving so slowly at the San Ysidro crossing port at Tijuana, Mexico, that food vendors were delivering eats to drivers waiting in line overnight. Thousands of Mexican citizens were poised to stream into the U.S. on Sunday and Monday, many of whom have not seen families and loved ones for 20 months.
The relaxation of travel restrictions comes as the Biden administration has overseen the worst illegal migrant crisis since 1986. According to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. border agents have encountered at least 1.7 million illegal crossers from October 2020 to September of this year. The spike in illegal entries has been blamed on Biden’s early relaxation of his predecessor’s tough border enforcement policies, which essentially created a mass humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, up north, reports noted that long lines of vehicles and RVs stretched from Ontario across the Rainbow Bridge at Niagra Falls, N.Y., as Canadians flowed into the U.S. as well. And “rival airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operated synchronized departures at 8.30 am from London Heathrow to New York JFK to celebrate the end of the travel ban,” the Daily Mail noted.
Biden announced the relaxation of the travel restrictions in September, noting that only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed into the country — though the same requirement has not been imposed on migrants who have entered illegally and have been permitted to stay pending adjudication of their cases.
In addition, foreign travelers must show proof of a negative test from no more than three days prior, or that they’ve had the virus and have recovered from it over the past three months. Also, children who have not been vaccinated will be permitted into the U.S. if they are traveling with a fully immunized adult.
Airline bosses are warning of delays, and others say that the raft of vaccinated visitors will only exacerbate the crisis of largely unvaccinated migrants pouring illegally over the southern border, many of whom have said they make the trip this year because they were certain they would have a better chance of staying in the country under Biden’s administration than under Trump’s.
Reports noted over the summer that the Biden administration’s DHS was releasing thousands of illegal migrants into the interior of the United States, with most simply vanishing thereafter.
Under Biden’s DHS, migrants are not being issued “notices to appear” for immigration hearings; rather, they are merely being told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office once they get to their final destination.
At the time, more than 16,000 migrants who came into the country illegally had failed to check in with an ICE office after their 60-day check-in request.
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