WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued a statement following the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security to allow non-essential travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the United States via land and ferry ports of entry across the U.S. border beginning next month.
“I welcome the news that the Biden Administration has finally heeded my call and reassessed the stringent closures and travel restrictions alongside the U.S.-Mexico border that have been in place for over twenty months and will allow fully vaccinated individuals to enter the U.S. For border communities, including Southern Arizona, these indeterminant border closures have caused great financial hardship to borderland residents and businesses that rely on the influx of tourism and trade for their livelihoods. This announcement comes at a time when local border businesses continue to reel from the impacts of the pandemic, with far too many forced to close their doors indefinitely. Not only will this provide a lifeline to so many of those businesses, but it will allow our borderlands region to regain its vibrancy. As the holiday season approaches, it will also mean that families will once again be able to connect with their loved ones on both sides of the border.”
“As we attempt to return to normal, we still need to do more to make sure expiring vaccines can make their way to border communities. Donating these vaccines is mutually beneficial and will allow us to bolster the health of the region. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and the Biden Administration to facilitate the process.”
Rep. Grijalva has long advocated for an assessment for reopening the U.S.-Mexico border and directing aid to border small businesses that have struggled throughout the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, Rep. Grijalva joined Rep. Veronica Escobar and members of the Congressional Border Caucus in sending a letter urging President Biden to reassess travel restrictions at U.S.-Mexico border.
In addition, he sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting they provide needed authorizations, resources, and guidance to ensure that border communities on the U.S. side of the border can donate unused vaccination doses near expiration to neighboring Mexican border communities.
In January 2021, he introduced the Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Plan to provide small business loans to those negatively impacted by the unique economic injuries of the pandemic.