Why did the U.S. restrict border traffic?

President Donald Trump said on FridayMarch 20th: “In normal times, the massive flows [of immigrants] place a vast burden on our healthcare system, but during a global pandemic, they threaten to create a perfect storm that would spread the infection to our border agents, migrants and to the public at large.”

Hours after he spoke, the White House announced that a staff member in Vice-President Mike Pence’s office had tested positive for coronavirus, though a spokeswoman said the unnamed patient did not come into close contact with Mr Pence or Mr Trump.

Earlier this week President Trump announced that the border with Canada would be closed to non-essential traffic “by mutual consent”.

During Friday’s news conference, Mr Pompeo said the restrictions would take effect on Saturday and also apply to Mexico. They are due be in place for at least 30 days.

US citizens “should arrange immediate return” unless they intend to remain abroad for some time, Mr Pompeo said.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the US was “working with both our Canadian partners as well as our Mexican partners”.

He added: “We want to make sure cargo continues, trade continues, healthcare workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things need to stop during this crisis.”

Also on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said asylum seekers crossing into the country on foot from the US would be turned back as part of the border shutdown.

The Yucatan Times
Newsroom


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