DOUGLAS — The Raul H. Castro Port of Entry is one of many ports across the country that will remain closed to “non-essential travel” through July 21, according to statements issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SRE).
This is the third time the restrictions have been extended.
“Based on the success of the existing restrictions and the emergence of additional global COVID-19 hotspots, the department will continue to limit non-essential travel at our land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a June 16 news release. “This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy.”
The travel restrictions took effect on March 21. At the time, Wolf said that “examples of essential travel include but are not limited to” travel for medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency response or public health purposes, and for “lawful cross-border trade.”
Local port officers have allowed U.S. citizens and green card holders to cross through the port since the restrictions took effect, but have also turned away some Mexican citizens who hold tourist visas.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics data show that crossings have dropped sharply since the measures were implemented.
At the Douglas Port of Entry, 73,203 pedestrians and 190,627 passenger vehicles crossed into the United States in February. Those numbers decreased to 52,585 pedestrians and 152,362 vehicles in March; then dropped sharply in April to 23,275 pedestrians and 75,610 vehicles.
Commercial truck traffic however increased from 952 in February to 1,018 in March but then dropped to significantly to 696 in April.
Pedestrian traffic has also decreased from 79,229 in January; 73,203 in February to 23,275 in April.
Edith Serrano, spokeswoman for the CBP said, those who can cross are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
“That is still for essential travel only,” she said. “Some legal permanent residents may be Mexican nationals driving vehicles that have Sonoran plates on them.”