World's busiest border falls quiet with millions of Mexicans barred from U.S.

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 31, 2020 - Duration: 02:15s

World's busiest border falls quiet with millions of Mexicans barred from U.S.

The world's busiest land border has fallen quiet as restrictions to contain the coronavirus prevent millions of Mexicans from making daily trips north, including many who work in U.S. businesses.


World's busiest border falls quiet with millions of Mexicans barred from U.S.

At the Ciudad Juarez border crossing, roads are nearly empty and the pedestrian bridge is too.

This scene replicated across the world's busiest land border that separates the U.S. and Mexico as restrictions to contain the coronavirus prevent millions of Mexicans from making daily trips north.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEXICAN MAN WHO HAS CROSSED INTO THE U.S. WITH A TOURIST VISA TO TAKE CARE OF HIS PARENTS, JOEL SOSA, SAYING: "I have my parents who are elderly.

And I am worried about their health.

Who will clean the house?

Who will do the laundry?

Things that they need done.

Medicine." Joel Sosa is one of at least 4 million Mexicans residing in cities along the border that have been hit hard by the restrictions on non-essential travel.

The measures invalidate so-called border crossing cards, visas that allow short visits into U.S. cities to shop, seek medical care, or like Sosa - to see family.

Forty-five year-old Sosa used to visit three times a week to bring food and medicine for diabetes and his mother's cancer.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEXICAN MAN WHO HAS CROSSED INTO THE U.S. WITH A TOURIST VISA TO TAKE CARE OF HIS PARENTS, JOEL SOSA MORENO, SAYING: "It's unfair that people like us with a tourist visa can't cross into El Paso because we are taking care of our parents, visiting them because they are in poor health.

It is unfortunate." Reuters spoke to nearly two dozen residents of Tijuana, Nogales and Ciudad Juarez who said they could no longer use the recreational border crossing cards to enter the U.S. It's also an issue for workers.

Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, said limiting transport to contain the epidemic was understandable, but in cities such as San Diego or El Paso “businesses that really should be open in the middle of a crisis might find that they don’t have employees.” Those includes farm work and caregiving.

The coronavirus restrictions, however, have not been widely imposed on U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico.

On Sunday, policemen wearing protective gear in Juarez were seen handing out COVID-19 informational fliers to drivers heading into Mexico and urging them to stay home.

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El Paso, Texas

City in Texas, United States

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