17 GOP Governors Urge Biden to lift COVID Vaccine Mandate on International Travelers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 17 Republican governors led by Governor Kristi Noem (SD) urged the Biden administration to reconsider its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on international travel by non-U.S. citizens to the United States:

At a time when over 70 other countries are moving away from stringent vaccine requirements for travel, the Biden administration has continually handicapped the United States by increasing and extending COVID-19 travel restrictions. The governors outline their concern with how the continued mandate places America at a competitive disadvantage by limiting its ability to welcome international travelers and business.

Additionally, the governors highlight how the Biden administration’s use of this mandate is contradictory to their other actions such as the revocation of Title 42, which allowed for the removal of migrants from the United States for public health reasons.

Signatories to the letter include: Governors Kristi Noem (SD), Kay Ivey (AL), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Brian Kemp (GA), Kim Reynolds (IA), Brad Little (ID), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Chris Sununu (NH), Doug Burgum (ND), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Bill Lee (TN), Glenn Youngkin (VA), and Mark Gordon (WY).

Portions of the letter included below:

“We request you lift the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on international travel to the United States and allow our country to return to normal. The lifting of mask mandates and testing requirements for air travel were steps in the right direction. Now, you should end the requirement that all non-U.S. citizen travelers entering the United States be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“In comparison, all travelers to the United States over the age of 18 are still required to show proof of vaccination before entering the country or even boarding a plane.  Air travelers are also required to provide contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States for contact tracing. The continued requirements, even as other countries are moving in the opposite direction, put us at a competitive disadvantage as our states work to welcome international travelers, attract foreign business prospects, and host global athletic competitions.

“In addition, maintaining a vaccine mandate for legal travelers is particularly contradictory given your recent push to revoke the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Order, which allows DHS to expel migrants from the country for public health reasons.  Why are you insisting on stringent vaccine requirements for legal temporary travelers but not for illegal immigrants who are attempting to stay in our country permanently?

“Republican Governors consistently stood against the immense, unconstitutional overstepping of power that occurred in our country during the pandemic in the name of public health.  As COVID-19 vaccination rates remain high and hospitalization levels remain manageable, continuing your international travel vaccine mandate becomes indefensible.

“The rest of the world is moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to normal. It is time for your Administration to do the same.”

View the joint letter here.