U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is in Mexico to discuss immigration and border security.
Mexico intends to gradually lift pandemic-related restrictions along its shared border with the United States as it advances in vaccinating the local population against COVID-19, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo said Tuesday Ebrard.
Ebrard said the reopening of the border will be discussed with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who arrived in Mexico on Monday afternoon.
“Mexico will make an extraordinary vaccination effort so that our cities have similar standards to those in the United States in terms of vaccination,” Ebrard said during a regular press conference.
The goal is to ensure that Mexico’s border cities have the same level of protection against COVID-19 as U.S. cities, so there is no longer any argument for maintaining the restrictions, Ebrard said.
“Once we get to this stage that will start across the border today, there would be no health argument to maintain these restrictions,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday, Mexico received a shipment of about 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the U.S. that will go toward the inoculation of Mexican border residents over the age of 18, the government said.
Vaccine delivery will be used to vaccinate anyone over the age of 18 in four cities on the U.S. border: Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, and Reynosa.
The United States and Mexico have restricted border crossings to essential travel since the beginning of the pandemic. But pressure is now mounting on both countries to ease these restrictions in order to resume trade traffic.
The issue of border closures is linked to migration concerns and Mayorkas is expected to hold a series of meetings with Mexican officials on Tuesday in an effort to find ways to curb migration to the U.S.
Mayorkas is scheduled to meet with security and immigration officials.
Mexico is a critical American partner in its effort to curb the growing flow of migrants fleeing poverty and gang violence in Central America and heading to the U.S.-Mexico border.
At the request of the US, Mexico did reinforced its own southern border with Guatemala with the National Guard in order to block migrants to the north.
From Guatemala, he urged potential migrants not to come.
Since taking office in January, the administration of President Joe Biden has continued to expel the vast majority of migrants arriving at a health care facility established by former President Donald Trump last year.
Biden, who campaigned with the promise of establishing a more welcoming approach to migrants, has been under political pressure to show his policies keep the border secure.
Republican rivals accuse him of creating border crisis by reversing Trump’s major anti-immigration policies rights groups have exploited their asylum restriction policies as infraction of international legal obligations.