U.S. And Mexico To Shutter Border To Slow Coronavirus
The United States intends to shutter the U.S.-Mexico border to non-essential travel in hopes of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter that he and his Mexico counterpart Marcelo Ebrard had been working on a series of travel restrictions that would bar non-essential travel but allow trade between both countries to continue.
#Mexico Foreign Secretary @m_ebrard and I have been working closely on travel restrictions that balance protecting our citizens from further transmission of #COVID19. Together, we can reduce public health risks and prioritize essential cross-border commerce and trade.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 20, 2020
Ebrard on Twitter said he has asked the border remain open to trade and for work but that he would make announce the conclusion today.
Mexico only recently became the U.S.’s absolutely top trading partner and most of that trade happens by truck.
Every day some 17,000 trucks cross the U.S.-Mexico border. At the same time, more than 15 million people live along the border and the border was crossed about 70 million times just last year.
The decision to limit crossings comes after a similar agreement was reached to close down the Canadian border.
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 last year to limit entries. A CBP spokeswoman said they’d received no orders to close the port.
At a press conference Friday, Gov. Ducey emphasized this is not a total closure of the border and that trade between Arizona and Mexico — the state’s largest trading partner — would continue.
“The border has not been closed. The border remains open for trade and essential services. In terms of tourism, those types of elective decisions - that’s all been stopped," Ducey said.
The governor also noted that some jobs are being “destroyed” because of business closures he has ordered. Ducey said Friday he that has no intention to expand restrictions or to add other kinds of businesses to the list of those that have been forced to shut down in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19.