US, Mexico working on reassessing cross-border travel to curb coronavirus

Saturday, 21 Mar, 2020

The U.S. -Mexico border will be temporarily closed to nonessential travel starting Saturday to further help stem the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced Friday.

There would be no ban on people traveling between the USA and Mexico for work or other essential activities and there would be no halt to commercial traffic, Ebrard said.

"We are not talking about a closure because it is not that", he said at a news conference in Mexico City. The Level 4 travel advisory for all global travels is the most severe warning issued by the department.

For the past week, the local Nogales International newspaper reported CBP officials moving steel containers around passenger lanes at the port of entry, a strategy the agency employed a year ago to limit entries.

"We want to make sure cargo continues, trade continues, healthcare workers continue to be able to traverse that border".

The restrictions will be reviewed after 30 days, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The sources said the restrictions would be similar to those that have been agreed with Canada.

"The possible flow of the coronavirus would come from the north to the south", Mexican Deputy Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said last week. America's mitigation strategy has been focused on limiting the number of people who are exposed, and to that end, Trump has increased worldwide travel restrictions. The closing will also allow for governments of each country to immediately send back any individual who tries to cross into the countries illegally.

The U.S. will shut down its northern and southern borders Friday night to all but "essential" traffic amid the coronavirus crisis, officials announced, including immediately returning all illegal immigrants before they are given a chance to gain a foothold here.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say a long list of "essential" workers would be unaffected going to and from their jobs, including farm workers, restaurant and grocery store employees and bus drivers. American citizens and permanent legal residents would still be allowed to return to the United States.

The border will remain open for trade and commerce, including for those crossing it for work. Mexico is an invaluable trade partner and friend, and I look forward to the day we can lift these restrictions.

Between the ports of entry, U.S. Border Patrol agents "will be given tools necessary to identify aliens at the border and to adjudicate some cases in the field at initial encounter". As per an anonymous source Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is concerned about the economic impact of border restrictions with his country already in recession.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of State issued a "global level 4 health advisory" that warned all citizens overseas "to arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain overseas for an indefinite period".

New York State governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all "non-essential workers" to stay at home across the state from Sunday evening. "If you don't have to cross, don't". Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters.