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The Final Countdown: Cross-Border Business and Families Reunite Again

-Editorial

When the travel restrictions end at midnight Nov. 8 it will be like returning to normal as people will be able to cross again to shop in Calexico or see their families in person for the first time in almost two years.

With this, the east port of entry will operate again from 6 in the morning until 10 at night, thus returning to the dynamics we had before the pandemic.

Families reunited and a border town anxiously awaiting to welcome back their shoppers who represent 90 percent of their customers. Although long lines are expected, the return of those who were not “essential” or American citizens will be an event in itself.

“I’m going to visit my two daughters and my grandchildren!” exclaimed Blanca Gonzalez in a survey done by Garitas Mexicali, Tiempo Actual on Facebook when asked what were their plans now that they would be able to cross to the United States.

“99 cents, el Jack, Food 4 less, Bevmo, Cinemark, conciertos, San Diego, Yuma,” said Toni Ojeda.

“As for the tourist visa, I have paid concert tickets for two years for three concerts that I am looking forward to,” said Marialena Balcazar Jimenez.

Others are not that enthusiastic as they have found places in Mexicali and have no need in shopping here again.

“None, I’ve already covered the supply chain,” said Rafael Suarez Viranueva.

Starting November 8, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow non-citizen travelers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the United States via land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals.

Non-citizen travelers should be prepared to:

  1. Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website; and
  2. Verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.

Any non-citizen attempting to enter the United States through illegal means or without appropriate documentation may be subject to expulsion or removal. Travelers arriving at a U.S. land port of entry or ferry terminal should be prepared to present any other relevant documents as requested by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

U.S. citizens are reminded to bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) document, such as

  • A valid U.S. passport
  • Trusted Traveler Program card
  • Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Enhanced Tribal Card

When re-entering the country be prepared to present a WHTI-compliant document if requested by a CBP officer during a border inspection.

Unvaccinated travelers may continue to cross the border for essential travel, including lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes.

Essential travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (example: to receive medical treatment in the United States);
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry; likewise travel by professional athletes is considered essential);
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (example: truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada);
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States and;
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations;

Members of federally recognized Tribes, whose reservations span the United States-Canada border, are also considered essential when traveling from one part of a reservation to another.

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