CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For immigrants and border families. Christmas Day means waking up early packing up the car with presents and waiting in line for as long as it takes to get to family in Mexico.
Chely Sandoval says this year will be different for her and her family in Reynosa.
"We're over there on the 24th, and we come back to keep working and we go back for New Year's," she said.
Sandoval says she has not seen her family since September because there is no way to cross the border without written proof of essential travel.
"It does affect us because they're dates that one wants to be together," she said.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, cross border travel for the purpose of visiting family members in the United States generally is not permissible under the current travel restrictions. Limited exceptions may be granted for individuals who serve as caretakers or who are providing transport to a medical appointment.
If Sandoval had the chance to see her family, she says her workplace would have her follow CDC guidelines and that is something she can't afford.
"I am blessed to have a job and I don't have the luxury of being in quarantine," said Sandoval.
While travel restrictions are in place, Sandoval and her family say they are waiting for the day they can see each other again.
"I have them here put away for when will be able to do it," she said.
The restrictions apply to all travel at land ports of entry, including passenger rail, passenger ferry and pleasure boat travel.
The travel restrictions will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EST on December 21, 2020, unless they are amended or rescinded.
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travelers are exempt from the restrictions on entry at U.S. land borders. These individuals will receive the same processing, evaluation and potential CDC medical screening that all entrants undergo at U.S. ports of entry.
Supply chains, including trucking, are not subject to the temporary travel restrictions. CBP remains steadfast in its commitment to facilitate the cross-border movement of food, fuel, workers and life-saving medicines that are needed to protect our nation.
Essential travel includes, but is not limited to:
- U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning to the United States
- Individuals traveling to receive medical treatment
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers)
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations; and members of federally recognized Tribes whose reservations span the U.S.-Canada border are also considered essential, when traveling from one part of a reservation to another.
Essential travel does not include tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling or attending cultural events.
CBP officers make the final determination of whether travelers are admissible to the United States at the port of entry, taking into account the totality of each traveler’s circumstances.
For more information, consult the following link here.