WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — As all 50 states take steps to re-open their economies, one thing remains closed: the U.S. border with our neighbors to the north and south.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the non-essential travel restrictions are now extended until June 22 for both Canada and Mexico.
Texas lawmakers are working to maintain the important economic ties with Mexico, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade at the border.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn says opening the border right now is too risky — but he admits a big part of re-opening the Texas economy depends on Mexico.
“We share a common border, and like I said and said to friends in the past, I said we are like an old married couple. We can’t get a divorce, we got to make it work,” says Cornyn.
But Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd says “making it work” may be easier said than done.
“The difference in the definition of what an essential business is,” says Hurd. “It’s not the same in Mexico as it is in the United States and that is impacting the supply chains.”
Hurd and Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar are working with Mexican leaders to keep the flow of trade — even with the travel restrictions.
“There are some manufacturing entities that are not deemed essential, so their employees aren’t coming to work and that is where a part or a product is developed and sent into the U.S. supply chain,” says Cuellar. “And so, it really comes down to individual businesses that need to be decided as essential.”
Hurd says no one knows exactly how long these disruptions will last.
The Department of Homeland Security says it will re-evaluate the border closures at the end of June to determine if it’s safe to lift the restrictions.