White House eyes to relax travel restrictions by mid-May: Sources tell CNBC

The Biden administration is looking toward the middle of May to relax restrictions on travel across the borders with Mexico and Canada and on inbound international travel from the UK, Europe and Brazil, according to two sources familiar with the matter. CNBC’s Kayla Tausche reports. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

The Biden administration is looking toward the middle of May to relax restrictions on travel across the borders with Mexico and Canada and on inbound international travel from the U.K., Europe and Brazil, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

While there has not been a policy memo or formal codification of that time frame, the discussion has focused on trying to limit the spread of variants domestically as localities make their own decisions on how quickly to reopen. In the meantime, officials have suggested President Joe Biden and his Covid task force need more time to feel comfortable with reopening borders and increasing the level of air traffic from overseas.

“There is going to be a sea change in mid-May when vaccines are more widely available to everyone,” according to one senior administration official.

The White House did not respond to e-mail requests for comment before publication.

The Department of Homeland Security announced a one-month extension of a ban on land crossings at the borders with Canada and Mexico until April 21. The previous expirations, renewed a month ago, had been set to expire March 21.

The Biden administration has been grappling with a surge in migration at the southern border, with the volume of unaccompanied minors overwhelming shelters and the number of adults apprehended set to reach 20-year highs. The U.S. has been pressing Mexico to do more to control the flow of migration — in addition to enforcing testing and masking protocol to limit Covid spread.

At the northern border, one official said, Canada has been requesting the U.S. keep the border closed until citizens there can get access to vaccines. In a joint communique following a bilateral meeting in late February, Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they “agreed to take a coordinated approach based on science and public health criteria when considering measures to ease Canada-U.S. border restrictions in the future.”

As for international air travel from Britain, Europe and Brazil, interagency working groups in the Biden administration have agreed to revisit the issue on a weekly basis as new data becomes available. Public health experts have raised concerns about new variants that could spread rapidly in communities that are reopening quickly, while other officials have noted that all international travelers must test negative before boarding. Those two views, according to sources, have offset each other in deliberations.

Before leaving office, former President Donald Trump lifted restrictions on inbound travel from allied countries, even as the United States was experiencing a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Biden reinstated the restrictions during his first week in office.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Jan. 25 when the administration moved to reinstate the limits.

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16 comments

  1. The addicted doll inherently carve because bucket reversely suffer astride a combative territory. acrid, lively verdict

  2. they didnt ban anything from mexico , they still have thousands of illegals crossing our border every day

  3. India Invaded Kashmir and killed hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris, Please help free Kashmir from the Indian Army and bring peace to the world If the Indian Army moved out in accordance with the UN security council resolutions 91, 98, 96, 80, 47, 38, 39, 51, 122, 123, 126, 307 and people could decide their own future the refugees could return then there will be peace

  4. Why don’t you report something important instead of shielding the left at every opportunity. This administration has caused a crisis in America. Why don’t say that, CNBC? I know why because you are a biased, leftist network that practices censorship of the truth. The people are on to you NBC and your bottom line is going to suffer for it as more and more people stop watching your bigoted network.

  5. Paris will go into 1 full month lockdown from tomorrow. No one wants to travel internationally when most big tourist destinations are in lockdown.

  6. Joe Biden: “We have put together I think the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

  7. wait what a ban on all land crossing between the United States and Mexico until April 21 because of a fear of CCP virus spread but tens of thousands illegal’s storming our border unvetted and unchecked well that’s just hunky freaking dory. Any new surge in this pandemic rest squarely on Biden’s shoulders and every death be it virus or violence with a root with a illegal is blood on his hands. When the hell is the American people gonna wake up and see the grievous hypocrisy of these greedy power mad liberal scum

  8. Geez Justin Trudeau must be racist for shuttering borders like Canada has. There are tens of thousands of refugees that weren’t welcome in Trump’s country who need to find refuge in Canada.

  9. Pls god🙏🏻, Im from Europe and I havent seen my bf who lives in the USA since 2019 🥺😢 im so depressed