TBC: U.S. Must Allow Cross-Border Travel Restrictions to Expire on June 22 to Prevent Destruction of Border Businesses

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (June 8, 2020)The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) today urged federal officials to allow current restrictions on non-essential travel between the U.S., Mexico and Canada to expire on June 22, 2020 now that federal and state governments have begun to ease COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders.

“As the United States and state governments work toward easing stay-at-home restrictions, foreign travel suspensions limiting entry to the U.S. have not seen a similar easing,” Cameron County Judge and TBC Chairman Eddie Treviño. Jr., wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.

“We must protect minority-owned small businesses, cross border trade, and the influence of daily travelers between our countries who invest in binational commerce through the goods and services they acquire,” Treviño said. “The pandemic has put a halt to this critical exchange of business and has left border cities economically paralyzed.”

The temporary travel restrictions were put in place in March by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) based on a health risk designation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These temporary restrictions apply to individuals traveling by land from Mexico or Canada whose travel is not essential. The orders permit essential travel (U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning to the U.S., medical travel, work-related travel, school-related travel, and travel by those engaged in cross-border trade) that recognizes the strong economic importance of travel and commerce among the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Treviño noted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been reopening Texas for over a month in a multi-phased manner. The state stay-home order expired on April 30 and Texas has been gradually allowing business operations to restart. In the current Phase III of reopening, which began on June 3, Abbott’s orders provide for reopening a wide range of commercial and tourist activities including offices, manufacturing, retail stores, restaurants, museums, malls, movie theaters, food courts, zoos, rodeos, and water and amusement parks.

In addition, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on June 1 Mexico’s return to a new normal, as the nation began to ease restrictions, including nationwide social distancing limitations. Mexican officials announce that more than 5,000 companies have implemented protocols that would allow them to reopen critical operations. “As Texas and Mexico lift restrictions based on improved health results, the basis for the orders restricting non-essential cross-border travel appear ripe for expiration,” Treviño said.”If they are further implemented, these will cause border communities and businesses to suffer economically, more than they already have due to the COVID-19 crisis.” TBC suggests re-opening land ports of entry with sufficient lanes to maintain traffic flow and a full complement of CBP staff that are adequately outfitted with personal protective equipment. “The sound and expeditious operations at our land ports will ensure that individuals are able to contribute to our binational economy in a rapid manner,” Treviño said. “We need people conducting crucial commercial activities, not waiting in line at the international ports of entry.”

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About the Texas Border Coalition

The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville. TBC is working closely with the state and federal government to educate, advocate, and secure funding for transportation, immigration and border security, workforce development, economic development and health care. For more information, visit the coalition website at
www.texasbordercoalition.org. Follow TBC on Facebook and Twitter [#TXBorderCoalition] to keep up to date on all of the latest news about the coalition and its activities.

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