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US border restrictions on travel to Mexico to expire

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US border restrictions on travel to Mexico to expire

US Mexico border reopen
Photo: Josue Gonzalez/Reuters

US government-imposed limitations on travel across the US-Mexico land border are set to expire today.

Citing the public health implications of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the US first ordered the border closure—which prohibits nonessential overland crossings, including those made for tourism purposes—last spring. The government has since extended the restrictions monthly. Despite the closure, US citizens, permanent residents and those traveling for essential purposes are still able to enter the US from Mexico.

Local leaders on both sides of the border contend that the closure has stymied economic recovery by cutting off both traditional sources of labor and important revenue streams in tourism-dependent communities. Researchers estimate that losses stemming from the travel restrictions last year totaled $4.09 billion in Texas alone.

The US will likely remove limitations on nonessential travel from Mexico within the coming weeks, amidst intensifying vaccination campaigns in northern Mexican states. As such, the US’s border communities are expected to observe significant increases in tourism revenue and consumer spending relative to 2020. Looking ahead, expect the US government to further capitalize on the border’s reopening by implementing new guest worker programs meant to address ongoing labor shortages in industries affected by the pandemic.

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