Opinion: The U.S. won’t lift restrictions on non-essential travel at land border ports of entry despite outcries from border mayors about the destruction that is causing.
What a dumb move to keep COVID-19-related land travel restrictions between Mexico and the United States.
On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, made clear it won’t lift restrictions on nonessential travel at land border ports of entry despite outcries from border mayors over the economic devastation that’s causing to local businesses.
TRAVEL ALERT: The temporary restriction on non-essential travel at US land border ports of entry remains in effect. Essential travel and trade continue unimpeded. Essential travel includes, but is not limited to: pic.twitter.com/NK9MaA4imz
— CBP (@CBP) July 9, 2021
Maintaining those restrictions imposed at the height of the health pandemic in March 2020 doesn’t make any sense now. Quite frankly, it’s reckless.
Border cities are bearing the worst of this
Mayors of border cities are sounding the alarm over the economic impact in their cities that heavily rely on legal border crossers.
In San Ysidro, Calif., at least 197 businesses have permanently closed while in Texas, border cities report higher unemployment rates than the state average. Arizona border cities have been hit hard, too.
Looking for the other side of the story? Subscribe today for access to even more opinions.
“Cross-border traffic is the lifeblood of their economy,” Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva told USA Today in March. “And it’s the people that walk over, the people that come to do retail shopping.”
It’s worse now. Yet, CPB says nonessential travel are still not allowed until at least July 21. That specifically targets Mexican tourists who legally cross the border by land to shop at nearby stores.
That only hurts border-area businesses because Mexicans or anyone else in the world who can pay for a plane ticket can still travel freely to America.
Use excess vaccines for anyone who enters
Why penalize land tourism? Health risks can still be mitigated by requiring COVID-19 vaccines, for instance, or even offering the jab to legal border crossers since America has plenty.
And no. Mexican land tourists wouldn’t be taking shots that otherwise could go to Americans because anyone who wants a shot can and does get it. We need to make it easier for them to spend their money that border-state businesses desperately need.
Grijalva has the right idea to use the excess supply of COVID-19 vaccines to help the Mexican state of Sonora that borders with Arizona.
The federal government, which controls the supply of coronavirus vaccine, should do it not just to help Sonora but the rest of the Mexican states along the 2,000-mile border.
It’s just smart smart economics to help border businesses – unless, of course, the feds really want to put them out of business permanently.
Subscribe to get more opinions content.