At border crossings along the California/Mexico border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have seen an increase in the number of non-citizens attempting to enter the U.S. despite their not having any legal status needed to do so. For the April 1- 26 time period CBP officers at California land border crossings encountered 1,632 inadmissible individuals, compared to 1,081 inadmissible individuals the same time period last month (March 1-26), a 51% increase. In addition, these individuals are increasingly citizens of countries other than Mexico.
With these increases, operations at the border crossings have been impacted as CBP officials must dedicate resources to securing the port of entry and processing these individuals, repositioning resources that would otherwise be dedicated to critical passenger and cargo processing, leading to increased wait times for the traveling public.
CBP officials are committed to securing the border while safely facilitating legitimate trade and travel into the U.S. and continue to adjust operations. We also continue to reach out to our partners in Mexico as well to coordinate and secure their assistance; our combined efforts to address illegal crossings in both countries are necessary to allow us to get back to devoting the resources necessary to keep legitimate traffic flowing.
CBP officials would like to remind travelers that, guided by science, public health data, and engaged discussions with our neighbors to the north and south, the border remains restricted to essential crossings only.
On March 21, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented temporary restrictions that limit entry at the U.S. northern and southern land borders to persons engaged in essential travel, including lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes. The travel restrictions continue to remain in effect as part of an ongoing effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Title 42 Section 265 to deter the spread of COVID-19. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travelers are exempt from the restrictions on entry at U.S. land borders. On a daily basis, CBP officers along the California/Mexico border continue to restrict travelers that are not exempt from crossing the border for non-essential travel purposes.
Essential travel includes, but is not limited to:
- Individuals traveling to receive medical treatment
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers)
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
Essential travel does not include tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events. Cross-border travel for the purpose of purchasing supplies generally is not permissible under the current travel restrictions, unless the traveler seeks to purchase supplies not readily available where they reside in Canada or Mexico. Cross-border travel for the purpose of visiting family members in the United States generally is not permissible under the current travel restrictions. Limited exceptions may be granted for individuals who serve as caretakers or who are providing transport to a medical appointment. CBP officers make the final determination of whether travelers are admissible to the United States at the port of entry, taking into account the totality of each traveler’s circumstances.
Additional information can be found in these Federal Register Notices: