News & Politics

White House Mulls Travel Restrictions Along Southern Border

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The United States imposed additional restrictions on travel to Iran, South Korea, and Italy while the president said he was “looking very strongly” at imposing restrictions along the southern border with Mexico.

Fox News:

Trump announced new strict travel “edicts” affecting Iran, Italy and South Korea and Trump confirmed he’s looking to potentially tighten the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Yes, we are thinking about [the] southern border, we have received a lot of power on the southern border over the last couple of years from the courts but we are looking at that very strongly,” Trump said at a press conference.

The White House has been discussing entry restrictions for Mexico.

CNBC:

Trump’s comments come after the news agency Reuters reported the White House was considering imposing entry restrictions with Mexico to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, although there are only 3 confirmed cases there. The United States, on the other hand, has confirmed 66 cases of the illness.

There are more than 85,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide and at least 2,941 deaths, the overwhelming majority of them in China, where the illness first surfaced. Asia and Europe are the hardest hit areas of the world, while Latin America has reported very few cases so far. In addition to Mexico, Brazil has reported 1 confirmed case of the virus.

Closing or curtailing travel on the southern border would have an immediate impact on the U.S. economy and cause interruptions in some supply chains. As far as restrictions elsewhere, the expanded travel restrictions on Iran are the most serious.

This would cover any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days. He also said Trump has authorized the State Department to raise the travel advisory for certain affected areas to Level Four, the highest level – so that Americans will be urged not to travel to areas in Italy and South Korea most affected by the virus.

Trump already signed an order Jan. 31 barring entry to foreign nationals, other than immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents, who visited China within the last 14 days, which scientists say is the virus’s longest incubation period. The State Department also has a Level Four alert for Americans to not travel to China, where the outbreak originated.

China has been absolutely ruthless in fighting to contain the outbreak. But their efforts, although slowing the spread of the coronavirus, have failed to stop it.

The consideration to close the southern border would probably only be a last resort. But restrictions, like we’re seeing on Italy and South Korea, are likely.

It’s unclear whether more restrictions will come for the southern border. Officials in Ecuador on Saturday confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the South American nation and Mexico reported two more to raise the country’s total to four.

Mexican health officials said the country is not currently facing a national emergency over the virus, while confirming the cases in Mexico City and in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

One thing is sure: it’s going to get worse before it gets better.