Covid 19 shuts down Canada, Mexico border to only essential travel; State Department order impacts immigrant aliens from entering

By Michael Hernandez 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced that the United States had closed both the northern and southern border—which was now opened only for essential travel in order to stop the spread of the corona virus in the United States.

The  new border action will turn back any illegal immigrants from trying to enter the country.   This action all but stops illegal immigration.  In the time period from last October thru February some 151,000 immigrant aliens attempted to enter the southern border through Mexico and another 21,000 immigrant aliens attempted to cross the northern border with Canada during that same time period.

“This does not pertain to U.S. citizens crossing the border or to lawful citizens from any other nation,” said Pompeo.   He said that the action was agreed to by Mexico and would not affect lawful trade and commerce.

President Donald J. Trump said the border decision was based on keeping resources serving the American health system to fight the corona disease.   “We need to keep Americans safe.  We need to slow the spread and keep our country safe,” said President Trump.  The United States now has travel bans on foreign nationals from China, Iran, and Europe (which now includes the United Kingdom and Ireland).    

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf also announced that the Centers for Disease Control had directed the Department of Homeland Security to “suspend the introduction of all individuals without proper documentation” into the United States from both the southern and northern borders.    Under the policy which would go into effect at midnight, those attempting to enter the country would no longer be detained at the border but sent back immediately to their home country.   Border Patrol agents have detained hundreds of Chinese nationals attempting to enter the United States illegally.

“The introduction and spread of the coronavirus in or border patrol and detention facilities presents a serious danger to aliens, our frontline agent and officers, and the American people,” said Wolf.    “The Department currently apprehends foreign nationals from over 120 different countries, many of whom fail to carry with them any identity, travel or medical documentation.”

Meanwhile, construction of a southern border wall continues with 139 miles of new border wall since President Trump took office.  The target is 450 miles of new border wall by the end of the year.

President announces Tax Day delay to July 15;

Suspension of fed student loan payments

President Donald J. Trump also announced that the federal tax deadline will be extended this year from April 15 to July 15 (a 90-day postponement of the deadline).

The President also announced the suspension of federal student loan payments for at least 60 days with legislation now being considered that if passed would require the U.S. Department of Education to “guarantee” a minimum payment of $10,000 for student loan borrowers.

In another announcement impacting the schools and teachers—it was announced that standardized testing requirements would not be enforced for public school students. 

Covid 19 (March 20) Report

Worldwide Cases:  250,856                                             U.S. Cases:14,250 

Worldwide Deaths:   10,415                                            U.S. Deaths:   205  

Friday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference came on the fifth day of the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” campaign against the coronavirus.  The campaign highlights the following:

  • Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
  • If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.
  • If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition—such as a significant heart or lung problem—stay home and away from other people.

California Governor Galvin Newsom was the first state to issue a “Safer at Home” emergency order for all state residents effective at midnight on Thursday.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a “Stay-at-Home” emergency order on Friday because New York now has 2,900 coronavirus cases.   A “Stay-at-Home” order by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will take effect on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Louisiana was promoting LSU Coach Ed Orgeron on a statewide billboard campaign with the slogan:  “WIN!  BY STAYING IN.”  The head football coach of the National Champion LSU Tigers said, “I want to encourage everyone to follow the game plan…I do believe we have a winning plan…Let’s just follow the plan, do the things we are supposed to do, and I guarantee we will win.”


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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