Trump Administration Declares Travel Ban On Northern, Southern Borders

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The Trump administration on Friday announced a ban on all non-essential travel on the northern and southern borders, the latest response to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, standing beside President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, declared that the Mexican and Canadian borders would be shut down to all non-essential travel. The ban will officially begin Saturday, and last for a month at least.

“As we continue to evaluate commonsense measures that reduce risk and prevent further spread, it only makes sense that we looked to the measures that neighbors to the north and south are undertaking,” Wolf said Friday. “We’ve reached an agreement with both Canada and Mexico to limit non-essential travel across our land borders.”

The acting secretary, however, added that trade and other needed services will continue to be processed through the border.

Senate Appropriations Committee Hears Testimony From Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, on February 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the Trump administration’s proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2021 for the Homeland Security Department. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Let me be clear that none of these agreements apply to lawful trade or commerce. Essential commercial activities will not be impacted,” Wolf said, adding that a “secure” and “strong ” economic supply chain will still move across both borders.

A few examples of the “essential” travel that will be permitted includes travel for medical purposes, educational purposes, emergency response operations, public health services, and anyone engaged in “lawful cross-border trade.”

Wolf said the agreements with Canada and Mexico will go into effect on Saturday, March 21.

Under orders from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the administration will also not permit anyone to enter the U.S. if they do not have proper documentation — meaning illegal aliens will not be accepted if they reach the U.S. border.

“Tonight, at midnight, we will execute the CDC order by immediately returning individuals arriving without documentation to Canada, Mexico, as well as a number of other countries, without delay,” Wolf said. “[Customs and Border Protection] is positioned to execute these measure as we continue to keep our borders secure and safe.”

As of Friday morning, more than 12,300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S, across every state. There are at least 195 reported cases of U.S. patients dying from coronavirus-related illnesses.

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