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Most Will Still Be Able To Cross Border During ‘Shutdown’

Cars wait in traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in this photo taken in D...

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Above: Cars wait in traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in this photo taken in December, 2019.

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On Saturday morning, the U.S. border with Mexico was closed to all “non-essential” travel as part of the federal government's effort to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. But people with valid reasons for going back and forth across the border will still be able to.

Aired: March 23, 2020 | Transcript

On Saturday morning, the U.S. border with Mexico was closed to all “non-essential” travel as part of the federal government's effort to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

But people with valid reasons for going back and forth across the border will still be able to.

In an interview Saturday, Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Consul General of México in San Diego, said U.S. or Mexican citizens with existing permission to enter either country will be able to cross to pick up medicine, see their family, and go to school or work.

“Our idea is to limit non-essential travel without disrupting the economic activity that has integrated our two economies for decades,” Gutiérrez told KPBS.

Reported by Max Rivlin-Nadler

RELATED: Immigration Courts Remain Open In Face Of Global Pandemic

Gutierrez said customs agents on either side of the border will determine whether the reason for a person’s crossing is essential. But for the most part, the closure is meant to cut down on people who are coming to either country for strictly recreational reasons.

“We are respectfully and clearly asking people not to travel south of the border for recreation and tourism reasons,” Gutiérrez said. “But we are not stopping everybody, we are not impeding people to go down if they consider it essential for them to go down.”

Gutiérrez also shed light on the new restrictions on asylum-seekers along the southern border.

While it's still unclear whether the U.S. will continue processing asylum-seekers at ports of entry, Gutiérrez said Mexico will accept asylum-seekers from Central America caught crossing into the US from Mexico between ports of entry.

He said the migrants always have the option to apply for asylum in Mexico, and it’s up to the U.S. government whether these individuals will be given future court dates in the U.S. as part of the “Remain-In-Mexico” program.

Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover the border, which includes everything from immigration to border politics to criminal justice issues. I'm interested in how the border impacts our daily lives and those of our neighbors, especially in ways that aren't immediately clear to us.

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