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I read on https://ktla.com/news/california/san-ysidro-border-line-waits-grow-to-10-hours-in-coronavirus-crackdown/ (mirror):

The crackdown comes after U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it surveyed about 100,000 travelers coming from Mexico by car or on foot and found 63% of U.S. citizens and legal residents traveled for reasons that were not essential.

But I don't see any sanction being imposed, so I'm not sure what they mean by crackdown here, and checking for the reason of stay in Mexico after leaving Mexico seems a bit late for pandemic purpose.

Do the US or Mexican authorities impose any sanction if a US lawful permanent resident (LPR) (and who is a French citizen) comes back from Mexico to the US via land border after having traveled from the US to Mexico via land border for non-essential reasons?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Willeke Oct 7 at 10:14
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I am not sure what exactly that article means by "crackdown" either. It is clearly talking about US authorities and not Mexican authorities. Some other news articles (such as this LA Times article) have said that non-essential travelers are sent to secondary inspection, so perhaps the "sanction" is the inconvenience of going to secondary:

Nonessential travelers, such as those going to visit family or the beach or to shop, are now being referred to secondary inspection areas for additional questions, Customs officials said. Border officers will also “provide such travelers with educational material in the form of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers Health Advisory Notice to ensure effective understanding of travel restrictions.”

It's kind of weird that they are talking about US citizens or LPRs returning to the US after non-essential travel, since the regulation on entry restrictions on the US-Mexico land border specifically defines US citizens or LPRs returning to the US as essential travel:

“essential travel,” which includes, but is not limited to—

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;

which your article also alludes to, by saying that US citizens and LPRs cannot be denied entry under the ban. But if it's not the ban, then I don't know what other US law or regulation a US citizen or LPR going to Mexico for tourism and then returning to the US would be running afoul of. By talking about a "crackdown", the articles seem to imply that CBP views such travel to be somehow "wrong", but I can't find anything official that says it is wrong (with respect to US law).

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  • Thanks, same reasoning here, what a mess. – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 29 at 18:10
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    On the day mentioned in the linked article (10+ hrs wait time at the border) I have heard of many that were basically given a dressing down by the officers for non-essential travel, either at the control point or in secondary inspection. – Midavalo Sep 29 at 18:25
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    @Midavalo Do these dressing downs have any the consequence, aside from the time it takes to queue for it and receive it? Also I wonder why they reprimand even though one can freely enter Mexico by air for non-essential traveling, and that the number of covid-19 cases per capita is 4 times smaller in Mexico than in the US, and [add >10 more reasons]. – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 29 at 18:52
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    @FranckDernoncourt no idea. I would guess US CBP would note it, maybe a second or third time may incur further consequence. But as far as I know this one date is the only time this has happened so far. – Midavalo Sep 29 at 18:54
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    @Midavalo good point but covid death per capita is about the same between US and Mexico, so restricting access to Mexico sounds about the same as restricting access to another US state. – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 29 at 19:30

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