Biden Extends COVID Tourism Ban for Border Towns

Empty Street
Breitbart Texas/Randy Clark

The Department of Homeland Security announced an extension to the travel limitations at land crossings along the Mexican and Canadian borders. The Trump era ban has been in place since March 2020 and applies to non-essential travel such as day tourism and shopping.

In a statement released Monday, DHS noted:

The restrictions outlined in the Notifications are temporary in nature and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 21, 2021 unless otherwise rescinded by the Department of Homeland Security.

The notifications extend the restriction of non-essential travel at land border ports of entry. The restrictions suspend the entry into the United States via land border, ferry crossing, rail, or through coastal ports of entry from Canada and/or Mexico, as immigrants or non-immigrants for any travel that is not deemed essential.

The ban has many border communities frustrated as it has directly impacted local economies. The ban was set to expire at 11:59pm on April 21, 2021 but has been extended until May, well past its one-year anniversary. Many local merchants expressed dismay about the allowance of thousands of asylum seekers arriving daily while masked Mexican tourists and shoppers are kept across the border.

One local merchant says many businesses did not survive the ban and have closed their doors permanently. He says his daily sales are down 90 percent, compared to pre-ban figures.

“We can’t survive like this; we are barely making enough to pay the rent.” In Spanish he adds, “It makes no sense, people are crossing the river illegally and we won’t let people with documents come over” and return home after shopping.

Ports of entry along the border that once bustled with daily crossers frequenting the local businesses are nearly void of traffic. Mayor Luis E. Sifuentes spoke to Breitbart Texas about the economic impact the ban has had on Eagle Pass, Texas.

“We’ve lost millions since the ban went into effect, at least $3 million in bridge revenues for pedestrian crossers since September … That doesn’t take into account the sales tax revenues we have lost.”

“This needs to end, we rolled out vaccines and our Covid precautions are sufficient to allow border crossers back into our community.” he added.

The ban on documented crossers will remain in effect for now as illegal crossings continue to soar.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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