Damage to Arizona businesses from border restrictions could be permanent

Sep 21, 2021, 2:00 PM
(Flickr Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)...
(Flickr Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
(Flickr Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

PHOENIX – The ongoing U.S. travel restrictions at the Mexican border are causing damage to Arizona businesses that might never be repaired, according to a state business leader.

The United States has been prohibiting nonessential land travel from Mexico and Canada since March 2020 as a COVID-19 mitigation strategy. U.S. citizens and lawful residents are exempt from the policy, which was extended last week until at least Oct. 21.

“People in Mexico have figured out they don’t need to cross the border to get everything they need or want, and a lot of those goods are now being sold and provided down in Mexico,” Danny Seiden, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

Seiden said that whenever the restrictions are lifted, “we don’t know if we’ll ever be exactly the same.”

While land border crossings have been limited to “essential travel,” Americans can cross through ports of entry in both directions, and flights are unrestricted.

“So what’s happening as a result is Arizonans are spending money in Mexico, but Mexicans are not spending money in Arizona. … We’re talking millions, tens of millions almost, per day that’s not happening as a result of this,” Seiden said.

Seiden added that it’s not just border towns that are feeling the impact of the travel restrictions.

“It’s devastating Nogales and San Luis, and really the shopping happens all the way up here in the Biltmore in Maricopa County, as well,” he said.

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Damage to Arizona businesses from border restrictions could be permanent