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Rep. Cuellar on the Lifting of the State Department’s Travel Restrictions for Mexico

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Texas Border Business

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) released the following statement regarding U.S. State Department’s decision to lower its travel advisory for Mexico to a Level 3 ‘Reconsider Travel’ from its highest possible Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’. Read the State Department’s advisory here. This travel advisory comes days before Mexico’s foreign ministry requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) another month-long extension from land-crossing restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border

“The State Department’s decision is an important first step to helping our community resume economic activity during this pandemic. However, the continuation of the non-essential travel restrictions should be reevaluated. I hope DHS looks at the State’s Department’s travel advisory when planning their next moves,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Since March, businesses and the tourism industry along the U.S.-Mexico border have faced dire economic circumstances due to the non-essential travel restrictions. That’s why I worked hard to create a proposal for the Department of Homeland Security that will work to reduce or eliminate restrictions on non-essential travel while limiting the further spread of Coronavirus at the southern border. I will continue to fight for employees, business-owners, and customers in our community who are facing the economic repercussions of COVID-19.” 

The State Department’s updated travel advisory says U.S. travelers should “reconsider travel to Mexico due to covid-19” as well as “crime and kidnapping.” A border closure restricting nonessential travel has been in place between the United States and Mexico since March 21 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The border closure terms only apply to land and water crossings, as flights between the United States and Mexico have largely continued since the early days of the pandemic. 

Last week, Congressman Cuellar held a press conference to discuss his proposal to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). His proposal would allow DHS officials to conduct health screenings for non-essential travelers at ports of entry, so that healthy travelers would be able to cross. DHS continues to extend non-essential travel restrictions but has not provided a plan to resolve the issue. The continual 30-day extensions of the travel restrictions prolongs economic devastation in our communities. 

Read his remarks from the press conference, which includes the proposal to DHS, here.

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