WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Since March, the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada have been closed to non-essential travel.
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) says this has devastated border businesses who rely on travelers to stay open.
“Without the Mexican shoppers, it is hard for them to stay in business. Some have gone under already,” said Cuellar.
He says when Homeland Security decides next week whether to lift or extend the border’s restrictions, he hopes they keep local business owners like Jerry Schrewel in mind.
“There should be no one considered non-essential, we are all essential,” Schrewel said. “And every extension of those restrictions will continue to have a negative impact on our economy.”
Instead, Cuellar is pitching a new plan to reopen the border safely as early as next week.
“It’s a plan where they can do enhanced medical screening,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar says the U.S. recently purchased 150 million rapid tests from Abbott Labs. He wants to bring some of those to the border.
“They come in, you do the temperature check, ask them a couple questions and then give them the rapid test,” Cuellar said.
He says his plan would contract companies to set up checkpoints to conduct testing away from border patrol agents. He says this way, they protect the health of the individual and the economy.
“The month of October, November, December are extremely crucial, and if nothing changes then it is going to be extremely difficult,” Cuellar explained.
The current travel restrictions expire Sept. 21.