Valley leaders urge White House to reopen bridges, as travel restrictions ease

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HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Starting November, people from the European Union will be allowed to fly into the United States with proof of vaccination. However, these new rules laid out by the Biden Administrations do not apply to people in Mexico wanting to cross through land bridges.

Borders have been closes to non-essential travel since March 2020. Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said this has had an effect on South Texas.

“Traditionally Mexican shoppers in some of our major retail areas represent 40% of our sales,” Cortez said. So, when you have those numbers and sales missing, it’s having a huge impact.”

According to U.S Representative Henry Cuellar, the new travel rules set in place will allow Mexican nationals to fly into the U.S., but not opening the borders has not only had a negative impact on the local economy but the entire country.

“I’ve calculated it, since March of 2020 until now that we have lost over $30 billion because the Biden administration does not want to open up the border restrictions to the land ports,” Cuellar said.

Congressman Cuellar said he has given the Biden Administration ideas on how to open the ports of entry in a safe way, but they have not gone through with any of those options.

Now, Cuellar is urging the White House to reopen the border before it is too late for local businesses.

“You are going to have businesses shut down. Some of them forever because they just can’t keep this up,” Cuellar said. “I am hoping that they open this up soon, I have given them a map way to open up.”

It is not just local businesses that have been suffering since the borders have been closed.

“It’s a tragedy because it is not only hurting our economy, but it is hurting the relationships with our families there is a lot of family relationships between Mexico and the United States,” Cortez said. “Unfortunately some of them have not been able to come over and spend time with their families.”

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