Press Release

Rep. Cuellar on DHS’ Extension of ‘Non-Essential’ Travel Restrictions to November 21st

New focus on border communities

Washington | Charlotte Laracy, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Alexis Torres, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), October 19, 2020

Laredo, TX—Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) released the following statement regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at land ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border through November 21st.

“Though I would have preferred that the Department of Homeland Security partially ease the restrictions on non-essential travel on October 21st, I am grateful to see that for the first time, “DHS is now working closely with Mexico and Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future and support our border communities.” I thank Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and their team for recognizing the dynamics at the border.

“I am encouraged that DHS is currently working in partnership with local governments along the border to establish and implement a community-based program to partially ease COVID-19 travel restrictions for “non-essential” travelers at land ports of entry.  We are working with DHS to develop a plan that balances the health of the individuals and the health of the border economy.

“I am hopeful that DHS will continue to engage with us so we can develop a community-backed strategy that focuses on our shared interest in protecting the lives and livelihoods of border communities.”

On October 6, Congressman Cuellar sent a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, urging the Department to establish and implement a community-based program to partially ease COVID-19 travel restrictions for “non-essential” travelers at land ports of entry.

Congressman Cuellar has held press conferences and roundtables with local officials throughout South Texas to discuss his proposal to the DHS, which would allow DHS officials to work with border leads and health officials from the CDC so that healthy travelers would be able to cross.

Since March 21, the Department of Homeland Security has implemented ‘nonessential travel’ restrictions on the United States and Mexico border. The border closure terms only apply to land crossings, as flights between the United States and Mexico have largely continued since the early days of the pandemic.