Mexican governors seek tougher border restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise in California, Arizona, Texas

Nation/World

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in California, Arizona and Texas continuing, several Mexican governors from states in Northern Mexico are asking their country’s foreign relations secretary to make it tougher for Americans to enter Mexico for non-essential reasons.

“Every person who doesn’t need to be crossing the border into Mexico should not cross,” Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca said.

Last week, Garcia took part in a teleconference involving Mexican governors who are growing increasingly concerned that COVID-19 is infiltrating their states as a result of Americans bringing the virus with them.

One of them is Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich, who announced her state, — which borders Arizona and a bit of New Mexico — would implement measures to prevent Americans from venturing into Mexico to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Pavlovich also reached out to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau asking him to get involved.

Landau put out a message on social media reminding people to avoid traveling unless it was necessary.

“Whichever side of the border you live on, this is NOT the time to cross to shop, eat, or visit family on the other side. Only ‘essential’ travel is permitted over the land border,” Landau tweeted. “If US citizens continue to make casual cross-border trips, the restrictions will increase, not decrease.”

In other places, such as Tijuana, Baja California, residents are overwhelmingly asking for more restrictions to be placed on Americans heading south.

San Diego County’s latest numbers, from Sunday, show 16,726 COVID-19 cases; the city of Tijuana, just south of the border, has reported less than 20% of that number, with 3,020 cases.

A recent poll taken by El Imparcial, a news agency based in Tijuana, showed 84% of the people in Tijuana want southbound border crossings restricted even further.

Right now only citizens, legal residents and essential workers are allowed to cross in both directions, but Mexican Customs in Tijuana doesn’t fully enforce these rules.

Residents are now asking government officials to start enforcing the guidelines.

“I lost three relatives in Spain and I’m originally from here. It’s totally understandable,” said Toni Burton, who commutes across the border for work.

Burton says she understands why there is growing concern in Mexico but doesn’t believe adding further restrictions is the answer.

“We need to be safer, people need to be safer. It’s up to us,” she said.

Over the weekend, residents of the town of Sonoyta — across from Lukeville, Arizona — briefly blocked the main road leading south amid fears of coronavirus outbreaks.

The mayor of Sonoyta, José Ramos Arzate, issued a statement Saturday “inviting U.S. tourists not to visit Mexico.”

With more than 30,000 COVID-19 deaths, Mexico recently overtook France as the country with the fifth-highest number of fatalities since the pandemic began

In view of continued high infection rates and deaths in Mexico, some state are backpedaling on reopening businesses. For example, the Mexico City government said Sunday that more streets in the city’s colonial-era downtown would be closed to traffic but open to pedestrians.

Visit BorderReport.com for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

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