On Thursday, March 19, 2020 a report of possible border closure circulated on Social Media and news sources on both sides of the border.
On Friday, March 20, 2020 the federal government agencies advised not of a total shutdown or closure of ports of entries, instead however there will be a restriction of travel particularly to tourism and recreation. The Department of Homeland Security will further advise of specifics as these restrictions go into effect on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
The Mexican Foreign Minister was also questioned about the news and stated in an interview on Friday Morning that, “We are not talking about a closure because it is not that. It is going to be a restriction specifically on tourism and recreation.” Additionally the US Secretary of State added that there would be no acceptance of Asylum Requests.
In a press release to citizens on Friday afternoon (3/20), The CBP stated that all “ports of entry (POE) will continue the entry of legitimate documented travelers not subject to previously announced travel restrictions and those that present proper documentation for essential travel only.” The release also stated that the CBP “may limit the number of open vehicle lanes to maintain operational control of travelers seeking entry into the United States.” They also further stated that, “Restricted travelers will be returned to their last point of origin (Mexico). The CBP will also suspend case processing of inadmissible individuals including those subject to travel restrictions. Between POEs the Border Patrol agents will be given tools to identify undocumented individuals at the border and adjudicate cases in the field at the initial encounter. This will allow the agents to make a decision to take an individual into protective custody or send them without processing to the nearest POE and expel them into Mexico.”
The release reiterated, “The Border is NOT closed but access is being limited to prevent the further introduction of COVID-19 into the US.”