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San Ysidro businesses ask Congressman Vargas to help lift land border restrictions

Posted at 6:16 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 09:16:40-04

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) -- It's now been a year and a half since the land border travel restrictions were put in place and so far there's no date for when they'll be lifted.

On Monday, the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce executive director, Jason Wells, says he sent a letter to Congressman Juan Vargas asking for help.

The letter states border communities are in "dire need of his leadership" and asks "what do we need to prove to get our lives back?"

Vargas represents the 51st district, which includes the border from San Ysidro to Imperial County.

The border was first closed in March 2020 by the Trump administration, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have extended the restrictions every month since.

According to Wells, since then, there has been a loss of over $1 billion dollars in retail sales, over 2,000 people lost their jobs and 282 businesses closed for good.

Wells insists the move to keep the land border restrictions in place is political and not for health reasons.

Just last week, the U.S. opened travel to foreign visitors requiring vaccinations and a negative COVID-19 test but that is for air travel, not through a land port.

Congressman Juan Vargas sent ABC 10News the following statement, regarding his efforts to help lift the restrictions:

“My office and I have had direct communication with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. Over the last several months our office has specifically asked that the Administration and DHS provide clear direction on the key metrics they are using to determine when it will be safe to lift the border restrictions. COVID vaccination rates are rising in California and San Diego and the government of Mexico has made a large public push to vaccinate its citizens along the border. My office will continue maintaining communication with the administration and DHS and will continue pushing for answers and action.”