Will drivers from Mexico have to pay tolls on Border West Expressway?

KFOX-14: Ernesto, a KFOX14 viewer, asked about El Paso’s newest toll road, the Border West Expressway, and whether Mexican nationals who drive on the highway will have to pay the toll along with American drivers.

Since opening last October, the Border West Expressway has been in what’s called a “toll deferral period,” meaning drivers aren’t currently being charged to drive on the highway.

I took Ernesto’s question to Raymond Telles, the Executive Director of the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority.

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The Sinister Logic of Trump’s Immigration Freeze

THE ATLANTIC: More than a decade before he became Franklin D. Roosevelt’s running mate, the Texas Democrat John Nance Garner tried to convince the biggest immigrant hater in Congress that his state desperately needed Mexican labor.

“I do not mean to say by that, Mr. Chairman, that the character of the people that would come in under this resolution are particularly desirable citizens; I won’t make that statement,” Garner told the Washington Republican Albert Johnson, testifying before the immigration committee in 1920. “But I do make this statement: that the people that would come in under this resolution—in my opinion, 80 percent of them will return to Mexico. They do not know anything about government. They come over here to get a little money and go back to Mexico because they would rather live there.”

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Field Hospital Begins Construction in Matamoros Migrant Camp in Response to COVID-19

TEXAS OBSERVER: A 20-bed field hospital at a migrant camp near Matamoros has been approved for setup by American and Mexican officials after weeks of negotiating permission requests from Global Response Management (GRM), the medical aid organization that spearheaded the effort. The hospital plans to begin receiving patients on May 1.

GRM first proposed the field hospital at the beginning of March, when it began to plan for the impending coronavirus pandemic. Andrea Leiner, a nurse practitioner and the director of strategic planning for GRM, said the organization knew it was a question of when, and not if, the virus would arrive in the camp. “There is nothing to indicate that it won’t become a problem,” Leiner told the Observer.

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Pentagon weighs replacing active duty troops on US-Mexico border with National Guard

CNN: The Defense Department is actively weighing reducing the number of active duty troops on the southern border with Mexico and replacing them with members of the National Guard, which would bring the deployment into line with previous military operations on the US-Mexico border under the Bush and Obama administrations, two US defense officials tell CNN.

The change could take place in September, according to one of the officials.

The border operation has been a major priority for President Donald Trump and has been criticized by Democrats in Congress.

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Sweeping Mexican factory shutdown strains U.S. production of critical supplies

POLITICO: American companies making crucial goods like ventilators, face masks and military equipment are unable to get parts and materials they need because the Mexican government has shuttered hundreds of factories and is refusing to reopen them during the pandemic.

Canada and the United States have deemed many manufacturers of parts and materials essential and kept them open during the coronavirus outbreak. But Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is only allowing companies to operate if they’re directly involved in critical industries such as health care, food production or energy — and not if they supply materials to companies involved in those industries. So Mexican firms along the supply chain that make everything from cleaning products to motors have shut down.

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Disrupted supply chains strain trade among US, Mexico and Canada

FREIGHT WAVES: As the coronavirus continues to impact global economies, Resilience360 recently rolled out several new reports aimed at helping companies monitor risks to their supply chains.

Resilience360’s COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S. and Canada: Impact on North American Supply Chain Operations analyzes key challenges that cross-border operators in Canada and the United States face.

“What we wanted to do is basically provide a glimpse in terms of what are the lockdown stay-at-home orders across the different states both in the U.S. and Canada. There’s different implementation measures and different ways of approaching it, and that does have an effect on ground transportation,” said Shehrina Kamal, product director, risk monitoring at Resilience360.

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U.S. Factories Low on Inventory Show Reliance on Mexico’s Restart

BLOOMBERG: The past four weeks have been a real test for North American supply chains. Even as some U.S. states gradually begin to reopening their economies, some American manufacturers — especially small- and medium-sized ones — are finding themselves reliant on how and when Mexico will decide to lift its restrictions.

Mexico’s stringent shelter-in-place order shut down of almost all manufacturing in the country. For U.S. companies like Bradford White, whose water heaters have been deployed in New York’s Javits Center-turned hospital in the state’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the shortage of inputs from Mexico could soon mean significant production interruptions.

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Democrats call for halt to border wall construction during coronavirus pandemic

TUCSON NEWS: Democratic lawmakers in Arizona and other states are calling for the Trump administration to stop spending billions of dollars on the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border during the coronavirus pandemic.

The money being spent on the border wall should instead go toward fighting the coronavirus and providing basic services in border communities where poverty is widespread and health care is relatively scarce, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat who represents much of the border region in southern Arizona, said on a press call Friday.

So far, $2.8 billion has been allocated to build 137 miles of wall near Tucson, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

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Coronavirus: Mexico factory staff question ‘essential work’

BBC NEWS: Factory workers in Ciudad Juárez rarely go on strike. Their labour rights are so weak that participating in a protest can cost them their job.

So when employees at the US-owned Regal motor factory organised a demonstration over having to work during a coronavirus outbreak, Mariana – not her real name – was initially reluctant to take part.

Earning barely $80 (£64) a month, she can ill afford to become unemployed at this complicated time.

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U.S. economy, in clear sign of recession, shrinks 4.8% in first quarter due to coronavirus

LOS ANGELES TIMES: In the broadest measure so far of COVID-19’s economic damage, the government said Wednesday that total U.S. output in the first quarter fell 4.8% — faster than at any time since the Great Recession.

But economists quickly noted that even this decline was likely the tip of the iceberg because the first-quarter number included January and February, and reported coronavirus cases did not begin to surge until March. The full dimension of the pandemic’s economic damage will not be visible in the data until the second quarter.

It left little doubt that the nation’s record 10½ years of economic expansion has come to an abrupt end, with profound political and economic repercussions.

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Federal government sued over denial of coronavirus relief to American spouses of illegal immigrants

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has sued the federal government over its denial of coronavirus relief payments to U.S. citizens who are married to immigrants without Social Security numbers.

The lawsuit was filed in Maryland on Tuesday on behalf of six U.S. citizens who were denied coronavirus relief checks because they filed and paid taxes with a spouse who has what’s known as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or a way for immigrants without legal status to still pay federal taxes, which millions do.

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‘Dude … what are you doing? Wear a mask.’: Pence ripped for going barefaced at Mayo Clinic

WASHINGTON POST: As Americans continue to seek answers about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Stephen Colbert offered some advice Tuesday night: Maybe it’s time to stop listening to Vice President Pence.

Just hours earlier, Pence, who leads the White House’s coronavirus task force, prompted a collective outcry when he was spotted speaking to staff and patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., without a face mask. Many, including Colbert, noticed Pence seemed to be the only person at the medical center who wasn’t wearing some sort of face covering — an apparent violation of the clinic’s policy and a move that appears at odds with federal guidelines dictating best practices for stemming the spread of the novel virus.

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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is Far Higher Than Reported, C.D.C. Data Suggests

NEW YORK TIMES: Total deaths in seven states that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic are nearly 50 percent higher than normal for the five weeks from March 8 through April 11, according to new death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is 9,000 more deaths than were reported as of April 11 in official counts of deaths from the coronavirus.

The new data is partial and most likely undercounts the recent death toll significantly. But it still illustrates how the coronavirus is causing a surge in deaths in the places it has struck, probably killing more people than the reported statistics capture. These increases belie arguments that the virus is only killing people who would have died anyway from other causes. Instead, the virus has brought a pattern of deaths unlike anything seen in recent years.

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Worst Economy in a Decade. What’s Next? ‘Worst in Our Lifetime.’

NEW YORK TIMES: The coronavirus pandemic officially snapped the United States’ economic growth streak in the first three months of the year.

The question now is how deep the damage will get — and how long the country will take to recover.

U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the economy, fell at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That is the first decline since 2014, and the worst quarterly contraction since 2008, when the country was in a deep recession.

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Federal government sued for denying stimulus checks to Americans married to undocumented immigrants

TEXAS TRIBUNE: A national civil rights advocacy group is suing the Trump administration on behalf of U.S. citizens denied government stimulus payments because they are married to undocumented immigrants.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, is alleging that a provision in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package known as the CARES Act that denies the benefit to mixed-status families in unconstitutional.

The benefits have been denied for married couples who jointly filed previous tax returns with one person using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

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With little certainty and a lot of hope, Texas restaurants and retailers navigate new rules as they prepare to reopen

TEXAS TRIBUNE: Cleburne Cafeteria, serving comfort food to the state’s biggest citysince 1941, has been forced to close and laterreopen aftermultiplehurricanes and twofires.

On Friday, Cleburne Cafeteria will open its dining room once again — this time, during a pandemic. To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus that first led to a statewide shuttering of in-person dining, the restaurant will provide plastic utensils instead of traditional cutlery, paper napkins instead of cloth and condiment packets instead of bottles.

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As businesses prepare to reopen, workers weigh COVID-19 risk against the need for a paycheck

TEXAS TRIBUNE: Gov. Greg Abbott’s Monday announcement that retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be allowed to reopen Friday means many Texas workers now have a difficult decision to make.

Going back to work means earning a paycheck again, but it also can increase their risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, which has already infected more than 25,000 Texans and left 663 dead. And refusing to return after a business reopens means forfeiting unemployment benefits.

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El Paso police plan citations for ‘Open Texas’ protesters

EL PASO MATTERS: El Paso police plan to issue citations to those suspected of violating public health orders during a “Open Texas” rally in Downtown El Paso on Saturday, a city spokeswoman said.

About 100 people attended the rally, which was closely observed by El Paso police. No citations were issued at the event.

“Citations were not issued on Saturday, in an effort to not escalate an already emotional situation. Strong-arm tactics are not always the best approach and it is not uncommon for the city to issue warrants and citations after an incident,” city spokeswoman Laura Cruz-Acosta said Sunday in an email to El Paso Matters.

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El Paso reports highest daily COVID-19 growth yet, a possible sign of Easter breakdown of social distancing

EL PASO MATTERS: El Paso County reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest daily count yet and a possible ominous sign that many El Pasoans relaxed compliance with social distancing orders over Easter.

The county has recorded 780 COVID-19 cases since March 13. The county’s growth rate of new cases had been on the decline for two weeks before Saturday’s sharp rise.

Two more COVID-19 deaths were reported Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 12.

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