During a press conference on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the US would be closing off its southern and northern borders for all non-essential travel to stop the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. Mexico is the largest trading partner in the world with the U.S.as 75% of its exports go to the U.S.
Trump has said for weeks he was considering southern border restrictions to contain coronavirus, with infection fears adding to his ongoing campaign against migration ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The restrictions on the U.S. -Mexico border follows the restrictions set in place on the U.S.
"Everyone else is not expected to have any difficulties", he said.
Roughly 3 million personal vehicles crossed legally each month in 2019 between San Diego, California, and the Mexican border city of Tijuana, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard downplayed the border news while speaking to journalists Friday morning, repeatedly saying that the changes do not amount to a closure.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the border closings Friday during a press conference at The White House. The new restrictions will take effect on Saturday, he said.
She said technology like FaceTime and messaging services, "absolutely is not able to replace in person meetings, especially dealing with people who are victims of trauma and trafficking". "People are just trying to go where they need to be during the isolated time".
The announcement follows the closure of the border between the USA and Canada to nonessential travel, which was announced Wednesday.
What is the Effect of the Plan to the United States?
Many people arrive at the borders with little or no travel, identity, or medical documentation, DHS acting Commissioner Chad Wolf told reporters at the White House, "making public health risk determinations all but impossible".
The measure announced Friday would cover migrants crossing illegally into the United States as well as into Canada, where some people have fled to escape US enforcement efforts.
Canada relies on the USA for 75% of its exports and about 18% of American exports go to Canada, The Associated Press reported.
Wolf also said the United States would bar entry to "all individuals seeking to enter the U.S. without proper travel documentation". The Department of Homeland Security did not address the apparent contradiction. "My office is open to help those Americans who may be stuck in Mexico or have questions regarding these new travel restrictions", Gonzalez said in the prepared statement. Ebrard said his government had not yet made that decision.
Among the jobs considered essential in order to cross into the US from Mexico are: farm workers, restaurant and grocery store employees and bus drivers.
Keeping trade flowing, as the USA and Canada also agreed to do, contains the economic damage.