FILE — U.S.-Canadian border

The U.S. and Canada closed their shared border to nonessential traffic in March of 2020. Content Exchange

(The Center Square) – Since March of 2020, nonessential land travel for friends, family and visitors between the United States and Canada has been shuttered.

But Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be allowed to enter the United States via land and ferry ports of entry (POEs) across the U.S. border.

“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Canada reopened its border to vaccinated U.S. travelers over two months ago, but the U.S. didn’t reciprocate.

In November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico or Canada to enter the United States at land and ferry POEs for nonessential reasons. Travelers must have proof of vaccination. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel for nonessential purposes from Canada and Mexico into the United States via land and ferry POEs.

In early January 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land or ferry POEs be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the news.

"The relationship between Michigan and Canada is one built on trade, travel, and friendship. I am grateful to the government of Canada and our federal partners for coming together to reopen the Michigan-Canada border,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming our neighbors as they cross the Ambassador Bridge or Detroit-Windsor Tunnel into Detroit, the Blue Water Bridge into Port Huron, or the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge into Sault Ste. Marie.

Despite the friendly comment, Whitmer and Canada are squaring off over the Line 5 pipeline, which the governor is attempting to close permanently. The two lines have transported approximately 540,000 gallons of hydrocarbons across the lake bottom of the Straits of Mackinac since 1953. Line 5 enters Michigan's Upper Peninsula from its nexus in Canada, across the Straits, along the east side of the Lower Peninsula, and across Lake Huron to its terminus in Canada. The Canadian government invoked a 1977 international treaty last week to enforce its terms preventing disruption of Line 5's operation.

“By reopening the border, we can build on Michigan’s economic momentum,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We had the third-highest GDP growth in the second quarter of 2021 and have a $3.5 billion surplus to invest in our families, communities, and small businesses. I look forward to collaborating with our Canadian friends to emerge from the pandemic and usher in a new era of economic prosperity.”

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