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U.S. Extends Mexico, Canada Border Closures for Additional 30 Days

Acting Dept. of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf announced Tuesday that the U.S. would be extending its border closures with Canada and Mexico by an additional 30 days.

“The President has made it clear that we must continue to keep legitimate, commercial trade flowing while limiting those seeking to enter our country for non-essential purposes,” Wolf said in a statement. “Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure.”

With the move, which was first reported last week, the border will not reopen until June 22 at the earliest. It was first closed in March amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. The power to reopen the borders to tourist and other non-commercial travel rests with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield, according to a rule filed Tuesday.

Wolf said that the U.S. had made the decision in coordination with its northern and southern neighbors. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed with the decision in a press conference on Tuesday, saying “It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has scaled back its operations during the pandemic, with the agency saying in March that it would “focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has also been immediately deporting any asylum seekers caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

Trump also issued a 60-day pause on some legal immigration in April, set to expire in June.

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