HIDALGO, Texas (KVEO) — Thousands will be waiting a bit longer for the border to open back up to non-essential travel as the Department of Homeland Security pushed back the reopen date another month.
“It does affect us a lot,” said Benito Torres Villegas, a taxi driver who makes his money driving people to and from the bridge, “For us the rides have gone down 80 percent.”
During the 5:00 p.m. rush hour at the Hidalgo- International Bridge, there are now about one to two cars crossing every few minutes and no line.
The Department of Homeland Security said they are extending the travel ban to non-essential travel that’s been in place since March.
This time it will be shut down to non-essential travel until July 21st.
The decision is tough for some, but for others it’s a good thing.
“It’s beneficial for me in the sense it’s much quicker, I don’t have to wait much time in line and come earlier to the bridge to cross on time,” said Jacqueline Pina who lives in Mexico, but studies in the United States.
The less travelers the shorter line for Jacqueline to get to class in the U.S.
However, she realizes the stress and hurt it causes many with ties to both sides.
“I feel for many people who can’t see their family members, so it would be nice for them to lift it so we can see our family members from over here,” said Pina.
In a statement DHS Acting Chad Wolf said,
The Department of Homeland Security will ensure that the measures taken at our borders will protect America from all threats, including threats against the health and safety of our citizens. 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. This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy.
The Department of Homeland Security is in close contact with our Canadian and Mexican counterparts regarding this extension, and they agree on the need to extend their non-essential travel restrictions as well. I look forward to continue working with our neighbors to maintain essential trade and travel while protecting the health of our respective citizenry.”
Depending on hot spots and spikes in cases, the federal government may postpone the border re-opening for a fourth time.
Trade is not impacted.