U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced newly adopted measures that will be taken at the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to curb non-essential travel during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to CBP, a recent survey taken by 100,000 travelers found that more than 60% of travel across the border by U.S. citizens and permanent residents were not considered essential.
“In response to the health crisis and to protect communities by the border, CBP is taking measures to discourage non-essential border crossing to and from Mexico,” the agency said in a statement.
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To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., CBP said it is making adjustments to its operations at entry ports in Mexico to limit non-essential travel. Affected ports of entry in Baja California include that of San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and Calexico, CBP said.
The agency said that in ports of entry, secondary inspections will be conducted on those who are suspected of traveling for an unnecessary reason. During the secondary inspection, individuals will be given educational materials on the coronavirus issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will be to raise awareness on the pandemic and to ensure travelers understand the risk of border crossing.
According to CBP, non-essential travelers, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, will face increased wait times and the possibility of being subjected to a secondary inspection.
“U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents are legally entitled to enter the U.S. and will not be refused entry, however, it is highly recommended that they do so for only essential purposes, consistent with the series of DHS notices published Federal Register,” the agency said in a statement.
CBP said the measures are being taken because Mexico is experiencing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases along the border with the U.S.
“It is our duty to do everything we can to protect our nation, including educating citizens and even discouraging non-essential travel to Mexico,” CBP’s statement continued.
The agency confirmed it began practicing the new measures on Aug. 21. On Saturday, NBC 7’s sister station, Telemundo 20, witnessed long waiting lines at the border for people coming to San Diego from Tijuana at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. A large majority of booths at the entry port were closed.
This article was originally written in Spanish on Telemundo 20. Click here to read the original story.