The Department of Homeland Security announced an extension to the travel limitations at land border crossings along the U.S.-Mexican and Canadian borders. The Trump era action has been in place since March 2020 and applies to non-essential travel such as day tourism and shopping.
In a statement released Wednesday, DHS noted, “To decrease the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through August 21, while ensuring the continued flow of essential trade and travel.”
Many hoped the ban would expire this week due to an increase in vaccinations in Mexico and Canada. Mexico received more than 1.3 million Johnson & Johnson doses from the United States in June. The vaccines are administered in 39 municipalities in Mexico along the border.
The ban was set to expire on July 21, 2021, but is extended until August, well past its one-year anniversary. Many border cities are financially affected by the ban as they rely on daily shopper crossings to support local business.
In Eagle Pass, Texas, Mayor Rolando Salinas issued a statement estimating a loss in revenue of $350,000 to $450,000 that would have been collected at the city’s International Bridge over the course of this latest extension. Many border cities will lose revenue generated through hotel and sales taxes.
In larger border communities, the revenue gaps are staggering. In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas signed by five mayors in the San Diego area, an estimated $7.5 million a week was lost during the period.
The San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce estimates 200 business closed permanently due to the lingering ban.
One Texas border merchant told Breitbart many businesses have not survived. 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 [to Mexico] after shopping.
The ban on documented crossers will remain in effect for now as illegal border 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.