US-Mexico border remains closed for non-essential travel until May 21 according to the US Customs and Border Protection. The closure was supposed to end on April 21 but was later extended to May 21. However, authorities can still extend the closure depending on the COVID19 situation in Mexico.
The border is going to remain open for those who are working and are doing business in the US. For US citizens and legal permanent residents, they are essential travelers. This means that the border closure is mainly for Mexicans with tourist visas.
Will Vaccination Open the US Border?
The Department of Homeland Security in its tweet mentioned that “we are guided by science and public health data and engaged in discussions with Canada and Mexico about easing restrictions as health conditions improve”.
Close to the US-Mexican border, health authorities administered more than 560,000 doses of the COVID19 vaccine in El Paso. To date, 35% of El Paso’s population completed their vaccine doses, while 56% received one dose. Some are hoping that borders will reopen once more people completed their COVID19 vaccination.
Issues at the US Border
One of the biggest problems at the US border is the rising number of children arriving in the US. UNICEF stated that the number of children increased from 380 to 3500 since the start of 2021. Shelters are becoming overcrowded. Some of these facilities are struggling to accommodate the number of children and families looking to cross the US border.
One of the main reasons could be the promise of US President Joe Biden to reverse some of Trump’s hardline policies on immigration. Biden administration also has the policy to allow unaccompanied minors to enter the country.
According to Father Pat Murphy who is the director of Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Mexico “a lot of people are coming here with the idea that asylum is already open”. Unfortunately, it is not open.