HIDALGO, Texas – Residents living on the Mexican and Canadian borders have voiced their anger at DHS’s decision to keep land ports of entries closed for another month to so-called ‘non-essential’ travel.
The land ports have been closed to shoppers, tourists and those wishing to see family members across the border since late March 2020 in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Travelers that are deemed ‘essential,’ such as truck drivers, have been able to cross unfettered.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that the land ports would remain closed for another month in a tweet on Sunday. The tweet stated: “To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade and travel.”
A second tweet from DHS stated: “DHS also notes positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other U.S. agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely an sustainably.”
DHS’s decision did not please U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
“Amid a growing illegal immigration crisis on our southern border, President Biden is continuing to prevent lawful, legitimate border crossings by extending these restrictions. Our border communities like Laredo, El Paso, McAllen, and Brownsville are suffering immensely because important land ports of entry remain closed to everyone except those deemed ‘essential’ traffic by the Biden administration. ‘Non-essential’ travel into the United States from land ports of entry for shopping, visiting friends and family, and casual visits are not allowed,” Cruz said, in a news release.
“Through this extension, the Biden administration is sending a clear signal that illegal immigration is tolerated – and even celebrated – while those who choose to enter legally should turn back— it’s an insult to the rule of law and a rebuke of common sense that’s driven more by politics than the well-being of Americans.”
Public policy advocate and veteran broadcaster Ron Whitlock also expressed his displeasure at the DHS decision.
“My beef is that we have a well-thought out pilot project ready to go that would allow the residents of Matamoros to cross the Gateway Bridge in Brownsville, get a wristband, and get their COVID-19 vaccine at the old HEB store in Downtown Brownsville. The City of Brownsville’s fire department, UTRGV, and the Rotary Clubs in Brownsville and Matamoros are ready to help. Why won’t DHS let us implement this project?” Whitlock said.
McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez said his city relies on tourism from Mexico.
“The restrictions on crossing the bridge continues. We probably have a weekly call with somebody regarding that because it is hurting our region, both sides of the border,” Rodriguez told the McAllen Economic Development Corporation at a board of directors meeting.
There was plenty of anger on Twitter about the DHS decision. Here are some of the responses to the DHS tweets:
Quality journalism takes time, effort and…. Money!
Producing quality journalism is not cheap. The coronavirus has resulted in falling revenues across the newsrooms of the United States. However, The Rio Grande Guardian is committed to producing quality news reporting on the issues that matter to border residents. The support of our members is vital in ensuring our mission gets fulfilled.
Can we count on your support? If so, click HERE. Thank you!