Violence Keeps Mexican Citizens from Traveling to US
HIDALGO - People who cross the border through the Hidalgo International Bridge said they’re seeing less people coming to the U.S.
Businesses close to the bridge are usually packed with vehicles coming from Tamaulipas. However, Mexican citizens said they have noticed a drop in foot traffic at the international bridge.
“Well, probably because of the lack of security. If we go out, we go out with fear,” said Reynosa resident Marta Segovia.
A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew found the parking lot full of cars with U.S. vehicle tags on Friday. It’s a stark difference from past months and past years.
“There was a time where there were lines to cross the bridge and people from Monterrey would come,” Reynosa resident Marta Lozano Cantu said.
Cantu and Segovia said they often cross into the U.S. to shop. Unlike before, they have encountered almost no foot traffic. The women mentioned violence in their city is keeping people locked inside their home.
“We hear the gunfire and all we can do is hide. We don’t go out,” Segovia said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported last week a video of a Mexican Navy helicopter started circulating on social media. People from across the border said whoever was aboard the helicopter started firing at people below.
“They see helicopters flying around and shoot out. The people have some fear of going out,” Cantu said.
An international security consultant said the military is going after “El Toro”, the leader of the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa.
We reached out to the superintendent of bridges, Rigo Villareal, to ask if whether violence is deterring people from crossing. He said they have yet to see that trend.
Contrary to popular belief, Villarreal said the drop in the peso is actually driving people into Mexico.
“So, a lot of people are going grocery shopping over there, the dentist doctors,” he said.
Segovia said people should still be careful when visiting Mexico.
“We have to come with precaution, so we can get on a bus or a taxi because even taxis get mugged,” she said.
Both women said although the Mexican Navy is taking action against cartels, they are still in need of more security on the ground. If the violence continues, they said they may eventually stop coming to the U.S.
The superintendent said they plan to increase the number of CBP officers to open more lanes and alleviate traffic for Semana Santa.
Each vehicle is charged $3.50 to cross into Mexico, while each pedestrian is charged $1.