WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — The U.S. borders with our neighbors to the north and south will remain closed for another month.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Thursday that travel restrictions have been extended through August because of the continuing threat posed by the coronavirus.
The decision comes as the state with the longest international border — Texas — deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases.
While many Texas lawmakers say they agree with the decision, they fear it could be disastrous for businesses along the border.
Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar says businesses at the southern border are hurting.
“We can help them temporarily, but the best medicine for those businesses are shoppers,” he said.
Cuellar says normally, up to 75% of those shoppers cross over from Mexico, but haven’t been able to since March.
In Thursday’s decision to extend restrictions, all non-essential travel was cut off until August.
“We got another month, hopefully they can hang on,” Cuellar said.
“I know folks in the state who depend on that cross-border trade and travel have experienced some pain,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said.
Cornyn says he wants to lift the travel restrictions, but only when it’s safe.
“We are keeping an eye on it, hopefully it will not extend any longer or be more pervasive than absolutely necessary to protect public health,” Cornyn said.
Texas is currently a hot spot for the virus, with cases in Mexico also spiking.
“Let’s work with your medical advisors and with the Canadians and the Mexicans. There are things that we can do at the border to keep the individuals safe and start moving our economy forward,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar says he is working with Homeland Security on how to prepare Border Patrol agents for when the border reopens, including mandatory temperature checks and masks for indiviudals crossing from both sides.