U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security published new guidelines for international border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, extending traveling restrictions until June 22.

The guidelines, published as a notification in the Federal Register, continue to limit international travel between the two countries to “essential travel,” and defines the extent of “essential.”

As defined by the document signed by Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, essential travel includes U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the U.S., traveling for work, medical purposes and others, while tourism and entertainment are excluded.

“Our efforts over the last several months to limit non-essential travel have been successful and now is not the time to change course,” Wolf said in a statement.

Wolf said legitimate, commercial trade will continue to flow across the international border, while limiting those seeking to enter the U.S. for non-essential purposes.

“Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure,” Wolf said.

The notification states U.S. and Mexican officials have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the United States and Mexico poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19, and places the populace of both nations at increased risk.

“Moreover, given the sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus, returning to previous levels of travel between the two nations places the personnel staffing land ports of entry between the United States and Mexico, as well as the individuals traveling through these ports of entry, at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19,” the document states.

The temporary alteration of operations at the ports should not interrupt legitimate trade between the two nations or disrupt critical supply chains that ensure food, fuel, medicine, and other critical materials reach individuals on both sides of the border.

A second notification with similar restrictions was also published for the U.S.-Canada border.

Essential travel, as defined by DHS

• U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;

• Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);

• Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;

• Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);

• Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);

• Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);

• Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;

• Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and

• Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.

Non-essential travel

• Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The temporary restrictions published Tuesday do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the United States and Mexico, but do apply to passenger rail, passenger ferry travel, and pleasure boat travel between the United States and Mexico.

These restrictions, the notification states, are temporary in nature and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 22, 2020. The notification may be amended or rescinded prior to that time, based on circumstances associated with the specific threat.

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