Do Not Pass: Border Crossings Plummet

The coronavirus pandemic not only reduced traffic on roadways, but also at the border. According to federal statistics, illegal border crossings dropped by about half between March and April, as the pandemic set in. At the same time, the number of new visas issued by the U.S. has fallen 93% since the start of the year, according to the State Department.

There are a number of factors contributing to the decline in border activity, starting with the U.S. tightening its border policy due to the pandemic. "The administration, using public health authority, has basically just shut down anyone sneaking across the border or trying to apply for asylum," says Mark Krikorian with the Center for Immigration Studies. "They're just turned right back and sent to Mexico."

That doesn't mean that nobody is crossing the border. "The hospitals on the Mexican side (of the border) are not handling this very well at all, and so some people are coming across the border for medical care," says Krikorian.

Krikorian also warns there are still smuggling operations taking place, especially involving drugs. "Because of the lockdowns with people not able to go to work and stuck at home, there might actually be an increase in drug use and therefore drug demand through Mexico," he tells KTRH. "So there's always going to be bad guys trying to take advantage of the border."

In the meantime, construction continues on the border wall, with President Trump promising hundreds of miles by the end of the year. Crews building the wall now have less traffic to deal with. "The border is never going to be completely shut down," says Krikorian. "But it's definitely way down from what it was before."

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