It's the latest example of "vaccines for thee, but not for me..."
Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has blocked OSHA from enforcing the Biden Administration's corporate vaccination mandate for most US workers, the administration has decided to require travelers visiting the US for "essential" reasons - ie to fill "essential" jobs like serving as a hospital nurse treating COVID patients - to be fully vaccinated.
Travelers arriving in the US by plane have already been required to prove their vaccination status for months now. But the new restrictions, which take effect at the beginning of next week, will expand the requirement to cover foreigners entering the US via port, land or ferry terminals along the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders (though, fortunately for them, a negative COVID test isn't required for entry at these locations).
The requirement will also apply to "non-essential" travelers, meaning that people seeking to visit the US must be from one of the countries fortunate enough to have broad access to vaccines.
In a statement, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was moving to protect public health while "safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy."
"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."
Regardless of whether they're "essential" or "non-essential", they must do the following:
Verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status
Provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website
Present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card
Be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during a border inspection
Of course, this doesn't bode well for the labor market, especially for hospitals desperate for front-line nurses and other "essential" workers, since health-care workers outside the US are typically even more reluctant to get the vaccine than health-care workers inside the US.
Economic data, including, most notably, the Fed's Beige Book (a collection of economic observations) has suggested as of late that the worker shortage in the US has started to ease.
But the Biden Administration's decision certainly won't help hospitals and other health-care providers paying traveling nurses 3x what they pay their staff due to the demand.