WASHINGTON, D.C. – A record number of viewers – more than 1,000 – watched a Mexico Institute webinar about Immigration and the U.S.-Mexico Border during the coronavirus pandemic.

The conversation included the analysis of two members of Congress – Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Houston. The moderator was Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute. 

Closing remarks were given by Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute, which is part of the Wilson Center. The Wilson Center’s director, president and CEO, Jane Harman, gave the opening remarks.

“As the U.S. government has implemented a raft of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, a significant number have been in the immigration arena, touching in particular on the U.S.-Mexico border,” the Mexico Institute stated, in a preview of the webinar.

“The Mexican and U.S. administrations agreed to halt nonessential travel across the border, slowing activity across a closely interconnected and vibrant regional economy.”

The Mexico Institute pointed out that the Trump administration has also taken a number of unprecedented measures, drawing on powers given to the Surgeon General in 1944 to block the entry of foreign nationals deemed possible health risks.

“As a result, border officials have expelled more than 10,000 unauthorized migrants and asylum seekers through an expedited process and largely ended access to asylum during the crisis.”

In their discussion, Reps. Escobar and Crenshaw spoke about the response to the coronavirus pandemic, how it is affecting the border region, and what the future might hold. 

The podcast below features this discussion.


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