U.S.-Mexico land border restrictions will remain in place until August 21
Restrictions on non-essential travel across the US-Mexico land border will remain in place at least until August 21, the Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday.
Restrictions on non-essential travel, which includes people traveling on tourist visas, were first imposed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and have been extended monthly since.
“To reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel to our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through August 21, while ensuring the continuous flow of essential commerce and travel. The agency said via Twitter.
“DHS is in constant contact with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which the restrictions can be relaxed in a safe and lasting manner.”
In a pre-published notice on the US Federal Register, DHS said that “given the sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus, coupled with the risks posed by new variants, the return to previous levels of travel between the two countries places staffing staff land ports of entry between the United States and Mexico, as well as people traveling through these ports of entry, at increased risk of exposure to the virus associated with COVID-19 ”.
The passages remain open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, people with work visas, and those traveling for educational or medical purposes, among other reasons deemed essential.
Recreational and tourist travel are considered non-essential.
The announcement comes as Mexico is carrying out a mass vaccination plan on its northern border to speed up the process of fully reopening the border.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday they plan to complete vaccinations in border municipalities by early August.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said via Twitter that “Mexico will continue bilateral dialogue while reiterating that the accelerated rate of COVID-19 vaccination at the border creates conditions for mutual benefit.”
Local San Diego County leaders have increased pressure on federal authorities to establish specific criteria for reopening non-essential travel at US land ports of entry.
Earlier this month, the mayors of San Diego, Chula Vista, National City, Coronado and Imperial Beach, as well as the supervisor, Nora Vargas co-signed a letter sent to DHS secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, voicing concerns.
“Our region is suffering a weekly economic blow of at least $ 7.5 million to our retail industry due to continued non-essential travel restrictions, and the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce reported. that more than 200 small businesses in their community have since closed. the restrictions are in place, ”reads the letter sent on July 2.
Officials added that given ongoing vaccination efforts on both sides of the border “it is time to lift these restrictions and allow free movement of daily travelers.”
In San Diego County, about 68% of residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID. In Baja California, about 72 percent of the eligible population has been fully immunized, according to the latest data.