US Reopens Mexican Border After 20 Months of Covid-19 Closure 

The United States Mexico International Border Wall between Sunland Park New Mexico and Puerto Anapra, Chihuahua Mexico
U.S.-Mexico border. | Image by grandriver

At around 10 p.m. local time on November 8, the border between the United States and Mexico reopened after being shut to all nonessential travelers. Any traveler who is fully vaccinated is now permitted to enter and exit with proper visa paperwork. 

One of the first places to open was the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border, where hundreds of migrants were camped on the Santa Fe Street Bridge, also known as the Paso del Norte Bridge. As the time hit midnight in the Eastern US, the time officially came to open up processing centers for border crossing.  

The United States closed its southern and northern borders in March 2020, restricting opportunities for travelers. Some people previously crossed the border daily as a commute to work.

The closure temporarily caused issues for the economy along the border, which depended on labor from the other side. 

“As sister cities, we need each other to survive,” said Melissa S. Franco, an Ojinaga representative. “[The reopening] …couldn’t happen at a better time with the holidays approaching.” Ojinaga sits just across the border from the Texas city of Presidio.  

The reopening also allows for families to be reunited for the holidays. Winter is an especially active time for migration across the border as farm labor in California comes to a close.

A New York Times report shows that in 2015, authorities expected around 100,000 people to flow through the El Paso border during the holiday months. Each year up until the pandemic showed similar numbers of holiday travel.    

With the opening, there were reports that a line of cars stretched for “miles,” flowing in and out of Tijuana and other cities.

The Santa Fe Street Bridge is also a significant traffic and foot route for border crossing.

Gerardo Rojas, a local, stated, “I felt goosebumps. I felt so, so happy. I even missed the bridge lines. That’s part of a routine I’ve missed so much. Both cities are part of our daily existence. I feel whole now.”  

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