|This week at the world's once busiest border crossing at San Ysidro|
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
SAN DIEGO & TIJUANA SEE LEGAL AND ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS PLUMMET
The coronavirus has upended schools, government and the economy, but it’s unclear whether it’s had the same impact on certain portions of the border region.
Law enforcement officials in both San Diego and Tijuana are enforcing stay-at-home orders. NBC 7 reports that the San Diego Sheriff’s Department on Friday issued more than 20 citations to people at beaches in Encinitas, which are closed. Police in Tijuana and Mexicali have also been enforcing similar public health orders in Baja California, including Playas de Tijuana.
Policies intended to contain the spread of coronavirus have also led to a sharp decline in apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally, which is generally used as a proxy for how many people are crossing. Prior to the outbreak, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were encountering nearly 10,000 migrants crossing illegally at the U.S.-Mexico border on a weekly basis, but they’re now seeing about 4,200, according to a Department of Homeland Security update Monday.
CBP began limiting hours at ports of entry over the weekend. Ped West, the pedestrian crossing on the west side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, is now closed.
With unprecedented border restrictions in place to try and quell the cross-border spread of the virus, CBP told me last week that they have seen a 70 to 80 percent reduction in passenger traffic across the entire San Diego field-office, which includes the San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and Tecate ports of entry.
Commercial cross-border traffic has remained unchanged, though, CBP told me. The restrictions were structured to maintain cross-border trade flows and limit people crossing for tourism or recreation. Between March 30 and April 5, CBP facilitated $21 billion worth of goods crossed back and forth along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
The economic impacts, meanwhile, are mixed. While 19 maquiladoras will be temporarily closing, impacting approximately 4,200 workers in Tijuana, those that produce medical devices have seen dramatic increases in demand for ventilators, the Union-Tribune reports.