U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf announced Monday a 30-day extension of the currently in place restricted travel advisement for Canada and Mexico.
The announcement comes on the day the restriction was set to expire at midnight, 30 days after it was put in place following President Trump’s announcement on March 20 that the U.S.-Mexico southern border would be closed off to “non-essential” travelers.
“In close collaboration, the US, Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days. As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country,” Wolf said in a prepared statement.
Essential travel includes, but is not limited to the following: U.S. citizens or permanent residents returning to the country, people traveling for medical purposes, in the case of receiving treatment in the U.S.; people who travel to attend educational institutions and those who are returning to the U.S. in the agriculture and farming industries.
This also includes anyone traveling as part of an emergency response team, government officials, or emergency responders, and those who work in cross-border trade, such as truck drivers moving cargo between the U.S. and Mexico.
This initiative will continue, and end at midnight May 20, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Non-essential travel is considered to be tourism, or recreational in nature, examples given include sightseeing, gambling, or attending a cultural event.
In late March, CBP officials said the ports of entry will still allow entry of “legitimate documented travelers” not subject to previously announced restrictions.
CBP officials stated at the time that they may “limit the number of open vehicle primary lanes to maintain operational control of all travelers seeking entry to the United States,” the release from CBP stated.
Those travelers, who do not meet the above description, would be returned to Mexico.
“Restricted travelers will be returned to their last point of origin (Mexico or Canada) and CBP will suspend case processing of inadmissible individuals, to include those subject to travel restrictions pursuant to Section 212(f) of the INA,” the release in March stated.
Between the ports of entry, U.S. Border Patrol agents “will be given tools necessary to identify aliens at the border and to adjudicate some cases in the field at initial encounter.”
CBP reiterates that the border is not closed, but access is being limited to prevent the further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States.