(PatriotHeadline.com)- The United States has agreed to extend its border restrictions with both Canada and Mexico through late July. All three countries are still struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions on non-essential travel between the countries have been in place since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March. They were originally for only 30 days but have been extended another 30 days each month since.
A spokesperson at the State Department who works closely with Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are “all working to protect our citizens’ health, while simultaneously trying to protect their economic welfare and livelihoods by ensuring the economy continues to function.”
In a statement, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said:
“This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy.”
According to a Politico report, sources have said that Mexico hasn’t pushed to reopen the border yet, as officials there are concerned doing so could result in the virus spreading from the United States down south. According to the tallies by Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has roughly 150,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 17,000 deaths, compared to more than 2 million cases and more than 115,000 deaths in the U.S.
Martha Barcena, the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., said:
“What we are seeing is a spike in contagions in some southern states of the U.S., including Texas and Arizona, that are linked to Memorial Day, so we are following very closely.”
Mexican officials are particularly concerned as the country is currently in the midst of its peak transmission period. That, combined with a weak health care system, is a huge cause of concern for many people in Mexico as well as the U.S.
Mexican senators who represent border towns are even trying to push for sanitary controls for people who enter Mexico from the United States, as the country can’t afford an even larger spread.
At the same time, there are some American officials who represent border communities who are concerned about the continued closure of the southern border to non-essential travel. Some communities in Texas and Arizona, for example, rely on Mexicans traveling into their states to spend money at restaurants, stores and other places.
As Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas, said:
“We’re getting to the point where businesses that rely on non-essential travel are saying: ‘Enough is enough.’ We’ve got to see if we can open this up somehow.”
Even Texas Republicans on the other side of the aisle agree. Representative Will Hurd said:
“We can protect public health and resume economic activity at the same time. When we can increase [cross-border travel and commerce] in a safe way, we should because that’s going to mean less federal dollars that has to go to these communities in order to support essential services.”
There is even growing concern that President Donald Trump will keep the Mexican border closed through the election, as it’s been a platform of his all along.