The Biden administration will not allow foreign truckers from Mexico or Canada to enter the country unless they provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus.
Beginning Saturday, all non-citizens must show proof of vaccination at all ports of entry and ferry terminals when trying to enter the country.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said:
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.
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.
Before the new mandate, nonresident essential travelers have been allowed entry into the country regardless of their vaccination status. However, United States officials announced the vaccine mandate in October, hoping to incentivize more travelers to get vaccinated.
The mandate will likely hurt the ongoing supply chain crisis, as unvaccinated truckers traveling from Mexico and Canada will not be allowed entry into the country. The Canadian Trucker Alliance estimates at least 12,000 drivers will not be able to enter the United States due to the mandate.
Canada enforced a similar vaccine requirement for travelers entering its borders on January 15.
Brian Hitchcock, owner of MBH Trucking LLC and interim executive director of the Michigan Trucking Association, expects to lose two-fifths of his revenue due to the United States and Canada’s vaccine mandates. Hitchcock’s drivers travel back and forth from Michigan to Ontario, but only one-sixth of his employees are vaccinated.
“How do you force a mandate on a bunch of truck drivers who have been out there on the front line for 20 months and never asked for anything?” Hitchcock asked. “They were the ones that kept our economy moving and supplies (going), so you never ran out of food.”
Biden’s vaccine mandate will likely hit the automobile manufacturing industry the hardest. Auto Care Association Bill Hanvey warned the vaccination requirement could further strain the supply chain.
In a statement to NBC News, Hanvey said:
Due to the current supply chain issues and chip shortages that the American automotive manufacturers are facing … we believe any additional strains placed on the supply chain have the potential to exacerbate this situation and could cause the demands on both the automotive manufacturers and the aftermarket to rise even further
Doug Betts, president of J.D. Power’s global automotive division, made a similar warning.
By the time you map out the supply chain, it’s just a spider web going everywhere. I would be surprised if there are any (U.S.) cars that don’t have at least one Canadian-based part. Canada is a pretty important part of auto manufacturing. Any part that doesn’t arrive or if there’s something wrong with it, you can’t build it. There’s more points of failure.
Charles Sox, a supply chain expert and University of Cincinnati professor, mirrored Betts’s point. “Automobiles are very complex machines, they have thousands of component parts. It only takes one missing part to stop you from being able to complete that vehicle and sell it,” Sox said.