Cuellar hopeful borders will reopen sooner with multinational ‘task force’ reviewing restrictions


Border restrictions will remain between the United States, Mexico and Canada, which prevents non-essential travelers from crossing at land ports, like the Gateway International Bridge that connects Reynosa, Mexico, to Brownsville, Texas, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Border Report File Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat whose South Texas district hugs the U.S.-Mexico border, said that although border restrictions were extended by the Biden administration due to the pandemic, he is hopeful they will soon be rescinded and he doesn’t expect border communities will have to wait until July 21 for land ports to open to all.

The biggest reason is that the United States, Mexico and Canada have formed a task force to discuss reopening the ports of entry, Cuellar told Border Report on Monday.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX (Courtesy Photo)

“There is a task force the U.S. has put together to see how we’re going to open it up. So this is the first time I’ve seen some actual movement,” Cuellar said.

He said he spoke with the White House last week and they are “involved,” which is different from previous months when communications have originated with the Secretary of Homeland Security, not President Joe Biden’s staff.

“So this the first time the White House is engaged, which is good news on that,” Cuellar said.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security announced border restrictions would be extended but also acknowledged the United States is working with experts from the other two countries “to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”

Cuellar said he didn’t understand why the southern and northern borders have to reopen at the same time. And he’s upset that travel restrictions do not apply to airports, which cater to wealthier travelers, but only to land ports.

“They cannot answer my questions and that includes the secretary,” Cuellar said. “Like why are you letting the rich Mexicans fly in but the working Mexicans, the working-class you can’t let them come in through a land bridge? I’ve asked CDC the same thing.”

“The U.S. wants to do same thing on the northern and southern border at the same time and my response is why do we have to wait for the Canadians?” Cuellar said. “They don’t understand what’s happened to our businesses.”

Extending the travel restrictions come as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the border is dangerous due to an influx of migrants and he wants to build a border wall.

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