Individual states are anxiously awaiting their reopening as coronavirus restriction orders begin to ease. But it is not just within the United States we have to worry about. Yesterday afternoon Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced new plans for border restrictions with Mexico and Canada, the same day the previous restrictions were set to expire. Nonessential travel between Mexico and the U.S. will continue to be restricted through June 22.
Wolf’s announcement also covers a new amendment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The amendment is under the Public Health Service Act and is declared “Amendment and extension of order suspecting introduction of certain persons from countries where a communicable disease exists.”
Written by Robert Redfield, the Director for the CDC, he writes, “I am extending the duration of the Order until I determine that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and continuation of the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health.”
Further assessment will occur “every 30 days” at which “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shall review the latest information regarding the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health risks to ensure that the Order remains necessary to protect public health.”
Secretary Wolf said of the CDC amendment, “this order has been one of the most critical tools the Department has used to prevent the further spread of the virus and to protect the American people, [Department of Homeland Security’ (DHS) frontline officers, and those in their care and custody from COVID-19.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed the United States’ sentiments. Trudeau also announced yesterday that he was extending the U.S.- Canada travel restrictions for another 30 days. Wolf said of the partnership between the countries, “We have been in contact with our Canadian and Mexican counterparts and they also agree that extending these restrictions is prudent at this time” said Wolf. “We appreciate our partnership with Mexico and Canada ensuring that North America is working together to combat the ongoing global pandemic” he added.
All of the above sounds prudent; except to the ACLU who seems less concerned with public safety and more concerned with fighting Trump on immigration. Deputy director of immigration policy for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) responded, “Do not be fooled: Trump’s goal is not to protect our health; it’s to sow division and advance his political agenda.” Flores added, “these now indefinite restrictions have nothing to do with curbing the spread of COVID-19.”
Mexico has admitted it lacks the resources for adequately testing for COVID. Even without the testing capabilities, they have reported 51,633 cases of the virus and 5,332 deaths which likely means the true number is much higher. Something Flores and the ACLU clearly does not want to acknowledge.