U.S. to Close Mexico Border to All Non-Essential Travel

A woman looks at the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, April 7, 2019. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to close their shared border to all non-essential travel beginning on Saturday in an effort to curb the international spread of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump announced Friday.

“As we did with Canada, we’re also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend non-essential travel,” Trump said at a White House press briefing. “These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.”

The restrictions are the same as those the administration implemented for the Canadian border on Wednesday. The rules will allow for essential travel, such as travel for trade purposes, medical reasons, emergency and public health services, or education-related travel.

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“We’re treating the borders equally, the northern border and the southern border,” Trump said. “They’re both being treated equally. A lot of people say they’re not treated equally, well they are.”

Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced the move earlier on Friday in Mexico City. Mexico is also prohibiting airplane travel from Europe.

“Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure the commerce that supports both our economies keeps flowing,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said of the decision.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf emphasized that the restrictions are not meant to harm economic activity, assuring that trade and commerce between Mexico and the U.S. will not be affected.

“Essential commercial activities will not be impacted. We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders,” Wolf said.

The Trump administration last week announced a 30-day ban on travel from Europe with certain exceptions. The U.S. has also closed its borders to China, Iran, and South Korea.

The agreement with Mexico comes as positive cases of coronavirus in the U.S. top 15,000 and deaths in the nation pass 200. The lung virus has spread to all 50 states and three U.S. territories.

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