On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates for non-U.S. travelers entering the country via land ports and ferry terminals. The new requirements take effect on Saturday, and they include essential and non-essential travelers.
“Starting on January 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require that non-U.S. individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals along our Northern and Southern borders be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be prepared to show related proof of vaccination,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy.”
The regulations state that anyone who enters a port or ferry terminal who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident must attest to his or her vaccination status, provide proof of vaccination, and provide “a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card,” along with any other documents that U.S. Customs and Border Protection requests.
This may sound reasonable and fair, but the new regulations will exacerbate the supply chain crisis that has already made American life more difficult and contributed to inflation.
These regulations are the second phase, and the first phase went into effect in November. That first phase allowed fully vaccinated non-essential travelers to enter the U.S. via ferry terminals and land ports.
This new set of regulations is more nefarious because untold numbers of cross-border truckers won’t be able to enter this country because they’ve chosen not to take the shot.
Truck News reported back in October about the potentially devastating effect these new requirements could have on Canadian truckers:
“It’s going to be a disaster,” said Wendell Erb, president and CEO of the Erb Group, a cross-border fleet headquartered in New Hamburg, Ont.
“Unfortunately, the percentage of people who are unvaccinated have no intention of getting vaccinated,” he said. “I’m already short of drivers to handle the freight I’m going to have.”
Driver shortages have plagued Canada’s trucking industry already, so for companies to lose even more drivers over vaccination rates could hurt even more.
“At the end of the day, I severely worry about the supply chain,” said Doug Sutherland, president of Sutco Transportation, headquartered in Salmo, B.C. “If we don’t have another solution, [such as] testing on a weekly basis, we’re going to see something detrimental to the supply chain.”
Sutherland stressed he supports vaccines. “I wouldn’t ever have anticipated the push we have seen against vaccines.”
But if the vaccines are actually mandated, he worries that Canada could be short close to 15,000 truck drivers, based on the vaccination rates for the general population.
“The big issue we’re running into here is we already have a severe supply chain shortage,” said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada.
An already strained supply chain can’t handle more issues. Continued federal government meddling will only make things worse.
But the Biden administration has already demonstrated that they don’t care about the supply chain crisis. All that matters to them is their COVID-Zero Narrative™ — which is a ridiculous pipe dream.
Voters should remember this come November and again in 2024.