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Texas lawmakers want to keep business with Mexico open — but worry about opening border

WWLP: As all 50 states take steps to re-open their economies, one thing remains closed: the U.S. border with our neighbors to the north and south.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the non-essential travel restrictions are now extended until June 22 for both Canada and Mexico. 

Texas lawmakers are working to maintain the important economic ties with Mexico, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade at the border.

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Trump administration announces extension of border-restricted travel

TEXAS TRIBUNE: The Trump administration announced an extension Tuesday of two border policies enacted months ago to stem the spread of the coronavirus, including an order that immigrant rights and civil liberties groups criticize as a backhanded way to achieve the president’s goal of turning away asylum seekers without due process.

Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, announced that the southern and northern borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed to nonessential travel until June 22. Nonessential travel, according to the post in the federal register, includes “individuals traveling for tourism purposes” like “sightseeing, recreation, gambling or attending cultural event.”

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COVID-19 cases rise in Juarez and El Paso as Mexico readies for reopening of factories

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: This nation is far from flattening the COVID-19 curve, but thousands of maquiladora employees are set to return to work after the government caved in to intense pressure from the Trump administration to ramp up production and restart the supply chain deemed critical for North America’s economy.

The target date for reopening is June 1, although some officials say work may begin as early as Monday. The massive, multi-billion international supply chain — which connects cities across Mexico and the U.S., including Dallas — stretches across one of the hardest covid-19 hit border regions: El Paso and Juarez.

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Mexican officials suggest extending border restrictions after cases of virus spike in Tamaulipas

BORDER REPORT: Mexico’s northern state of Tamaulipas, which borders over 200 miles with South Texas, reported 81 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — the most cases of coronavirus confirmed in a single day since the pandemic began.

South Texas leaders on Monday met with Mexican health and community leaders who said that due to the spike in cases south of the border, international travel restrictions will likely be extended through June 30, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said.

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Smugglers caught with counterfeit coronavirus tests at Mexican border

KHOU: Federal agents are warning consumers to beware of criminals trying to cash in on the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seen an increase in counterfeit COVID-19 tests, hand sanitizer, face masks and mask filters crossing the border.

In one recent case, agents say a 36-year-old man crossing the border from Mexico was caught with 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 Rapid Tests.

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In Mexican border cities, many fear virus is coming from US

KVIA: Adrián Alonso Gama lived life on both sides of the border, until he got the coronavirus.

On weekends the 37-year-old truck driver would stay at his parents’ home in Tijuana. Thanks to his U.S. green card, he lived in his own place in San Diego during the week, delivering beer and auto parts around the American southwest.

Last week, Gama started feeling sick and returned to Mexico to be close to family. He was diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming one of the more than 1,700 confirmed coronavirus patients who make Tijuana second only to Mexico City in infections, despite the border city’s relatively small population.

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In Mexico City, experts find bones of dozens of mammoths

NBC MONTANA: Archaeologists have found the bones of about 60 mammoths at an airport under construction just north of Mexico City, near human-built ‘traps’ where more than a dozen mammoths were found last year.

Both discoveries reveal how appealing the area — once a shallow lake — was for the mammoths. The National Institute of Anthropology and History said Thursday there was no immediate evidence that the 60 mammoths newly discovered at the old Santa Lucia military airbase had been butchered by humans.

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The Trump administration is rushing deportations of migrant children during coronavirus

TEXAS TRIBUNE: The girls, 8 and 11, were alone in a rented room in a dangerous Mexican city bordering Texas. Their father had been attacked and abandoned on the side of a road and they didn’t know where he was.

For seven months the children had waited with their dad in Matamoros, across from Brownsville, to ask U.S. authorities for asylum. They had fled their home after death threats from local gang members and no help from police. They had also been victims of sexual assault.

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Governor orders end for restrictions on air travel into Texas

KFOX 14: Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday terminating air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order immediately ends all restrictions that mandated temporary quarantines for air travelers arriving from California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Miami, Florida.

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Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar discusses managing trade at the border during the pandemic

GRAY DC: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said he has been working with Customs and Border Protection and Mexican leaders to deal with trade between the U.S. and Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuellar also talks about the importance of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allocating the anti-viral drug remdesivir to Laredo hospitals.

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The Latest: Probe suggests more virus deaths in Mexico City

STAR TRIBUNE: A registry of death certificates in Mexico City suggests there have been 4,577 cases in which doctors mentioned coronavirus or COVID-19 as a possible or probable cause of death, more than three times the official count.

The federal government acknowledges only 1,332 confirmed deaths in Mexico City due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Mexicans Against Corruption said in a report Monday it obtained access to a database of death certificates issued in Mexico City between March 18 and May 12. It showed that in explanatory notes attached to 4,577 death certificates, doctors included the words “SARS,” “COV2,” “COV,” “Covid 19,” or “new coronavirus.”

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Grieder: In Texas, unauthorized immigrants are net contributors to the state economy

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Say what you will about unauthorized immigrants, but they are not a drain on the Texas economy.

In fact, a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy finds that from one perspective, Texas is getting the better end of the bargain in its dealings with this population.

(This story is behind a paywall. Readers will have to subscribe to read it).

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Largest contract yet for US-Mexico border wall announced, worth $1.3 billion

FOX NEWS: A North Dakota construction company has been awarded a massive $1.3 billion contract to build a portion of President Trump’s signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota confirmed that the contract to build the 42-mile section of wall in Arizona was awarded to Fisher Sand and Gravel Co.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday that there was no set date to start or complete construction on the latest contract award. Construction will take place near Nogales and Sasabe, both in Arizona.

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COVID-19 puts migrants in limbo at U.S.-Mexico border

CGTN: The world’s attention in recent months has been laser focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, yet other global problems haven’t gone away… Indeed, some have only been exacerbated by the health emergency. 

That’s certainly the case with the migration crisis along the U.S. southern border. 

CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports, more migrants than ever are feeling stranded in Mexico.  

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U.S. Extends Mexico, Canada Border Closures for Additional 30 Days

NATIONAL REVIEW: Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf announced Tuesday that the U.S. would be extending its border closures with Canada and Mexico by an additional 30 days.

“The President has made it clear that we must continue to keep legitimate, commercial trade flowing while limiting those seeking to enter our country for non-essential purposes,” Wolf said in a statement. “Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure.”

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Hotel offers migrants a place to fight virus at US-Mexico border

AFP: The International Organization for Migration offers migrants rooms at a hotel in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, on the US-Mexico border, where they can pass a mandatory quarantine upon arrival into the city.

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Rights groups: Trump’s ‘exploiting a health crisis’ to end asylum

ALJAZEERA: The Trump administration on Tuesday indefinitely extended its policy of urgently expelling most migrants and asylum seekers crossing the border irregularly in a move rights groups said is an effort to “exploit a health crisis” to effectively end asylum at the US-Mexico border. 

Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued the extension of the order that authorises Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to immediately remove migrants and asylum seekers in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus while in custody.

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Virus cases spike in California county on Mexican border

FOX 26 NEWS: As much of California begins reopening businesses amid improved coronavirus conditions, a farming region on the state’s border with Mexico is experiencing a spike in hospitalizations that some believe is driven by American citizens who live in Mexico coming to the U.S. for care.

How quickly different parts of California reopen is driven by the ability by country officials to control the virus. So the surge in the Imperial Valley region could hurt its perpetually struggling economy, which is heavily intertwined with the large industrial city of Mexicali, Mexico.

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US borders with Canada, Mexico closed another month

AFP: The US government on Tuesday extended for another month restrictions on non-essential travel across the borders with Canada and Mexico to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The US Department of Homeland Security said the closure, first ordered on March 20 and due to expire Wednesday, will be extended until June 22 and reviewed every 30 days.

“Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure,” said interim DHS chief Chad Wolf.

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US-Mexico border wall fight ensnares public Arizona land

FOX NEWS: President Trump‘s long-promised border wall is igniting a fight over public lands in Arizona amid concerns the barriers would significantly change the look of the landscape.

Construction crews have been moving ahead with the building of 161 miles of barriers along the state’s 372-mile long international boundary with Mexico. Nearly all of the construction is slated to take place on government-owned land — national parks, monuments, conservation areas and other undisturbed terrains — and areas where no barriers exist, AZ Central reported.

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Feeding refugees on the U.S.-Mexico border was always a challenge. Now there’s Covid-19. 

THE FERN: Since 2019, a crisis has been unfolding directly across the U.S.-Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas. About 2,000 refugees, largely from Central America, have been stranded in a riverside encampment, wholly dependent on humanitarian groups for food and other basic needs. Feeding them before Covid-19 was a daunting task for the aid groups. The pandemic has made food delivery considerably more complicated.

The refugees had begun assembling in Matamoros, a city of about 550,000 near the Gulf of Mexico, in response to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump Administration policy unveiled in January 2019 that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their cases are processed.

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With U.S.-Mexico border closed, migrant apprehensions fell by nearly half in April

PEW RESEARCH: The number of migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped sharply in April, the first full month after the U.S. government declared a national emergency due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and closed the border to all but essential traffic.

U.S. Border Patrol agents expelled or apprehended 15,862 migrants at the southwest border in April, down 47% from March, the largest percentage decline in enforcement actions in a single month since at least 2000, according to new federal data. In addition, apprehensions in April were down 84% compared with the same month in 2019, when the total was 99,273. The last time border enforcement actions in a single month had fallen below the 20,000 mark was in 2017.

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More Migrants From India Try To Get Into U.S. From Mexico

NPR: Before the pandemic, before so many borders closed, one of the biggest questions facing this country was, what to do about immigration? Hundreds of thousands of people every year try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Many of them are from Central America, which you’d expect. But something mysterious was also happening. More and more people from India were trying to cross that border, too. Last summer, a 6-year-old Indian girl died in the Arizona desert. NPR’s Lauren Frayer met her family. And they helped explain what’s happening.

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U.S.-Mexico Border Now Faces a COVID-19 Crisis (VIDEO)

YUCATAN TIMES: A COVID-19 crisis is brewing at the U.S.-Mexico border as overwhelmed hospitals turn away new cases.

In US news and current events today, a coronavirus crisis is breaking out at a U.S.-Mexico border region. Now hospitals in the region are having to turn new COVID-19 cases away after they became overwhelmed with U.S. patients coming from Mexico to seek COVID19 treatment.

California’s Imperial County sits on the U.S.-Mexico border. A largely rural area, the county only has two hospitals and now both the Pilgrims Memorial Hospital and El Centro Regional Medical Center have had to start turning away new COVID-19 patients.

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Mexico Reports Another Single-Day Record for Coronavirus Deaths

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Mexico on Friday registered a record for coronavirus deaths on a single day, posting 479 more deaths along with 2,960 new infections, according to data from the health ministry.

Authorities have now reported 62,527 total cases of the coronavirus and 6,989 deaths since detecting the first cases in Mexico in late February.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Readies First Astronaut Launch by Private Firm

WALL STREET JOURNAL: With the scheduled launch of two NASA astronauts into orbit Wednesday, SpaceX aims to propel the U.S. into a historic new era of commercially led space exploration.

No company has flown commercially developed hardware carrying humans and rendezvoused with the international space station. If successful, it would be a resounding achievement for Space Exploration Technologies Corp.; its billionaire founder, Elon Musk; and a milestone for NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has spent years trying to shift away from the lumbering process of building and designing government-owned spacecraft, and toward using public-private partnerships to develop vehicles and then pay private contractors for specific services.

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El Paso groups raise funds for workers who are ineligible for stimulus payments

EL PASO MATTERS: Frustrated with a lack of action from government officials to provide assistance to immigrant farmworkers and undocumented familes that serve El Paso, three organizations have started a GoFundMe to make an immediate difference.

Agricultural workers are classified as essential workers under state and local orders, but many  do not qualify for the $1,200 stimulus check because they are undocumented immigrants.

Border Network for Human Rights, the Border Agricultural Workers Project, and the Peace and Justice Ministry recognized that the immigrant farmworkers and other undocumented working families are struggling and on May 1 launched an emergency fund called COVID-19 Economic Emergency Fund: From People to People to provide relief to those left out of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

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Laredo official: Retiring health director, city ‘going in different directions’

LAREDO MORNING TIMES: Less than a week after the city’s fire chief and emergency management coordinator announced his retirement, the other half of Laredo’s emergency leadership during this pandemic will also be retiring.

Health Director Dr. Hector Gonzalez wrote in a memorandum to the mayor and city manager that he will be leaving his position effective Friday at 5 p.m.

City Manager Robert Eads informed council members via email that Assistant Health Director for Programs and Services Richard Chamberlain will now assume the role of interim health director.

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After an “anticlimactic” virtual goodbye, Dell Medical School’s inaugural class heads to the front lines of the pandemic

TEXAS TRIBUNE: “Am I muted? Can y’all hear me?”

That’s what 49 graduating medical students and more than 600 family members, friends and faculty members heard as Dr. Susan Cox, executive vice dean of academics, kicked off the live portion of Dell Medical School’s YouTube commencement ceremony Thursday.

What followed was a seven-minute cacophony as the graduates stumbled through the Hippocratic oath and promised to “do no harm” in unison, thwarted by Zoom lags, frozen screens and students breaking into laughter.

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Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas is aiming to start college football on time, with fans in stands

TEXAS TRIBUNE: Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that Texas is working to have the college football season start on time, with at least some fans in attendance, as the state continues to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott, speaking during a TV interview, said there are still a few factors that remain to be seen, such as stadium capacity, the availability of medical treatment for the virus and the overall status of the outbreak in Texas. Abbott said he expects to know more about those issues around mid-July.

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