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US to close border with Mexico for ‘non-essential’ travel in effort to stem coronavirus spread

US to close border with Mexico for ‘non-essential’ travel in effort to stem coronavirus spread
Starting Saturday, the US-Mexico border will be closed to nonessential travel in order to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, US President Donald Trump announced Friday.

The closure is open-ended and “will last as long as necessary,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added.

Trade is exempt from the restriction, which will focus on curbing tourism and recreational activities. President Trump said that Mexico is also suspending air travel from Europe. The Mexican government, however, has not yet announced a European travel ban.

“As we did with Canada, we’re also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend nonessential travel,” Trump said.

“These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.”

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Under the new policies, undocumented immigrants who are caught at the border will be returned directly to Mexico or Canada, rather than detaining them in the US, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security declared.

Trump emphasized that the policies apply equally to both Canada and Mexico.

“We are treating both borders equally ... northern and southern borders,” the President said.

The US-Mexico border is considered the busiest in the world, with approximately 350 million legal crossings taking place annually. There are more than 300 ports of entry.

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