U.S., Mexico restrict border in effort to fight coronavirus


The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to restrict “nonessential” travel across their shared border, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday. The restrictions will not apply to trade and will go into effect on Saturday. Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, said a “strong supply chain” would be kept. Both spoke at a White House briefing.

The border restrictions apply to vehicle passengers and pedestrians crossing at legal ports of entry.

“We’re going to protect the economy activity between the two countries and in the border zone,” said Ebrard.

Commercial goods arriving via rail and truck are exempt, as are “essential” personnel and those with legal work permits, said Ebrard.

“Everything that has to do with people who work in the United States who have that authorization every day to move from one place to another, will not be affected either,” said Ebrard.

Ebrard asked people who can postpone their business or work trips from Mexico to the United States to consider delaying their trips.

The arrangement is similar to the temporary closure of the United States’ border with Canada, with exemptions for trade and essential movement. Ebrard said the agreement with Mexico included greater exceptions for workers, but Trump said the U.S. was treating both borders equally.

“It is clear that Mexico’s border with the United States is not the same as the United States’ border with Canada,” said Ebrard.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters at the White House Friday morning that the U.S. was “looking at both our northern and our southern border.”

“We want to make sure that cargo continues, trade continues, heath care workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things needs to stop during this crisis,” Wolf said.

The closure was foreshadowed Thursday evening in tweets by U.S. and Mexico diplomats, who said the negotiations were ongoing and would be discussed in detail Friday.

“Together, we can reduce public health risks and prioritize essential cross-border commerce and trade,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted to Twitter.

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