City of El Paso clarifies who qualifies as “essential travel”

Border Report

People and vehicles pass over the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry bridge which connects the United States and Mexico on January 19, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Homeland Security began restricting travel from Mexico into the United States at 11:59 p.m. Friday night, essentially shutting border traffic to most Mexican citizens traveling into El Paso.

“We are one region dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, it is imperative that as a region we restrict unnecessary travel and personal contact,” Mayor Dee Margo said in a press release. “At this time I believe the Federal limitations applied to our bridges will still allow for commerce and essential business to be conducted.”

Those who are deemed “essential” are those participating in trade or commerce as defined below:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States)
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work)
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies)
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico)
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.
  • Armed Forces, returning to the United States
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations

Travel not falling within the definition of “essential travel” is as follows:

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The City of El Paso manages southbound lanes at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton, and Ysleta/Zaragoza ports of entry. The southbound lanes into Juarez will continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

U.S. citizens traveling into Mexico are permitted to travel into Mexico but are encouraged to limit their travel to “essential travel” as outlined by DHS.

KTSM is working to clarify additional border crossing rules for Lawful Permanent Residents.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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