Federal travel restrictions set to expire March 21

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The federal travel restrictions placed on international bridges, in response to the coronavirus pandemic are set to expire on March 21.

Last March, the Trump administration responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by placing a federal travel restriction on land ports of entry. The restriction limited non-essential travel from Mexico to the United States. 

During the initial month, Cameron County's International Bridge System saw between a 50% to 60% loss in revenue. 

Director of Cameron County's International Bridge System, Josue Garcia Jr. said the county saw a reduction of about $7 million, in tolls alone.

That money is used on a variety of things, including providing cash flow for the county's general fund and cities like Brownsville, San Benito and Harlingen.

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said the restrictions had an impact on the city. 

"We were lucky that our sales tax revenue and other revenues that came into the city didn't actually drop," Mendez said. 

With the Biden administration repealing some Trump-era border policies, local leaders hope the president will follow suit on this policy.

"I understood it at the beginning," Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said. "To try to avoid the spread of COVID. But we're past that."

The Department of Homeland Security said they are continuing to monitor the situation. 


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