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Entry Restrictions at the Northern and

Southern Borders in Response to COVID-19



April 2, 2020
In response to the global spread of COVID-- 19, the federal government has issued several orders
restricting the entry of foreign nationals into the United States. Many of these restrictions were
implemented through President Trump's authority under Section 212(t) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (INA) to suspend the entry of non-U. S. nationals (aliens) whose entry the President finds
... would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. One proclamation issued on January 311,
2020, suspends the entry of foreign nationals who have been in mainland China within the prior 14 days.
A second proclamation issued on February 29, 2020, suspends the entry of foreign nationals who have
been in Iran in the prior 14 days. Two more proclamations issued in March 2020 restrict the travel of
foreign nationals from countries in the Schengen Area, Ireland, and the United Kingdom within the prior
14 days.
The Trump Administration has taken further action, relying on authority outside INA Section 212(f), to
restrict the movement of foreign nationals over land borders into the United States. Two orders restrict
non-essential travel by foreign nationals into the United States through ports of entry on the land borders
with both Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a
component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has issued an order (along with
implementing regulations) suspending the introduction of foreign nationals from countries with
COVID-19. These new orders raise a number of legal issues-most notably their effect on migrants
seeking asylum in the United States.


Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel from Canada and

Mexico into the United States

U.S., Canadian, and Mexican officials have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the
United States and its respective contiguous countries poses additional risk of the transmission and spread
of COVID-19. Accordingly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), issued two identical orders (one applying to U.S.-Mexico travel and the
other applying to U.S.-Canada travel). Both temporarily restrict non-essential travel at land ports of entry
from Canada and Mexico into the United States.
                                                               Congressional Research Service
                                                               https://crsreports.congress.gov
                                                                                   LSB10439

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