Federal Data Shows Big Border Crossing Drops In March

Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 5:14pm

Pedestrian and personal vehicle crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have fallen sharply since restrictions to slow coronavirus spread were put in place.

Compared to March 2019, northbound pedestrian crossings fell by 34% and vehicle crossings were down 24% this March, according to recently released federal data analyzed by KJZZ. Commercial truck crossings fell a much more modest 0.6%. Restrictions on nonessential cross-border travel, which exempt trade and were negotiated by the U.S. and Mexico, took effect in late March.

“Border communities are taking a huge hit right because they’re so interconnected economically and socially,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute. “When you tear that apart, it undermines the tax base in some of these economies, it undermines consumer spending.”

He thinks the restrictions were probably necessary and praised both governments for working together on them. But he hopes to eventually see them work together to bring back the mobility that border communities depend on.

“Hopefully the U.S. and Mexican governments will be as responsible in negotiating and working out the ways of reopening the border as they were when they slowed it down,” he said.

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