It takes a lot to infuriate our Arctic neighbors, but the Biden administration makes it look easy. The U.S.-Canada border is closed to Canadians for another month, said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, although air travel restrictions were lifted for dozens of countries, including Canada. The northern border has been restricted to "essential travel" since March 2020.
Keeping the border closed hurts economies and friendships on both sides of the border, Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) explained. "We want to have them come into a place like Montana to do business for tourism dollars that helps our economy out." As temperatures drop and days shorten, many snowbirds probably wish they could sprout wings and fly south with the geese.
Secretary Mayorkas offered excuses, "We are looking primarily at the public health rationale, the fact that the arc of the delta variant is not yet where we need it to be." Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) responded that these non-answers were the "same responses we have gotten for weeks and months without anybody explaining to us the public health rationale." She added, "I do not understand the public health rationale here at all for closing the northern border to vehicular traffic when it is essentially open to air traffic."
On August 9, Canada opened the border to American citizens, but the U.S. has yet to reciprocate. Canada's vaccination rate passed America's this summer (it's now over 70 percent, said Daines). Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, have filed across the southern border at Del Rio, Texas. "The vaccination rate of the Haitians is less than 0.5 percent," said Daines. There is no widespread effort to vaccinate the migrants, despite the overwhelming safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
Theoretically, the southern border is just as closed as the northern one. But after President Biden halted President Trump's successful enforcement measures, 1.7 million migrants have crossed in a year. Recent footage shows migrants wading back and forth across the Rio Grande as if there were no border at all. In a visit to the border, Mayorkas attempted to dissuade more migrants from coming. "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family's life," he said.
That's wrong, said the Associated Press (AP), writing, "accounts of wide-scale releases -- some observed in Del Rio by Associated Press journalists -- are at odds with statements Monday by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas." When will the Biden administration learn that wishing an outcome does not make it so? In fact, DHS is responsible for releasing into the interior of the United States all the migrants observed by the AP. One anonymous official said migrants were being released on a "very, very large scale" -- as in, thousands of them. Does Secretary Mayorkas not know what his agency is doing, or is he simply lying?
While migrants continue arriving, this week the camp population is down from 14,000 to about 8,600, as thousands were transferred elsewhere on the border, many were released, and 10 planeloads were deported to Haiti. (These flights so infuriated Biden's diplomat to Haiti that he quit.) The Biden administration has wasted money and time and has encouraged thousands of poor migrants to make a dangerous journey for nothing, but they seem to be wrestling the situation under control (apart from the migrants they are freely releasing into the country). Still, there is no "public health rationale" to housing thousands of unvaccinated migrants in tent cities while keeping out vaccinated Canadian citizens.