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Congresswoman Escobar Sends Letter Urging Trump and López Obrador to Work on Binational Strategy to Tackle COVID-19

“Without intervention, tens of thousands more lives will be needlessly lost, our economies will further recede, and our nations will struggle to rebuild for years to come.”

El Paso, TX, July 7, 2020

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) sent a letter to President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urging them to work on a binational strategy to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that includes identical testing and tracing policies, and resources to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect border communities.

The letter, which was sent ahead of President López Obrador's upcoming visit to the United States to meet with President Trump, highlights the economic interdependence of both countries affirmed by the USMCA, the importance of safely facilitating the movement of goods and people, and the impact of the pandemic on migrants at the border who have been pushed out of the United States under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.

“The bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico is a critical one. Our two countries share nearly 2,000 miles of border as well as familial, environmental, and economic ties. As we continue to see the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravage our two countries, our collaboration has never been more important,” Congresswoman Escobar wrote. “I urge you then to work toward a binational strategy to tackle COVID-19. With over 130,000 American and 30,000 Mexican lives lost to the virus, it is vital that you implement a robust border mitigation, testing, and contact tracing plan that protects our shared interests. Without a binational response, the lives, livelihoods, and economies of our border communities continue to be at risk; we need urgent action.”

Congresswoman Escobar continued, “The U.S. was slow to respond to the pandemic, and unfortunately, many border states like Texas and Arizona that rapidly reopened before implementing robust testing and tracing policies have become hotspots. On the Mexican side, the federal government has not invested significantly in testing and contact tracing and I have learned that the only public testing taking place is for individuals admitted into hospitals. Communities on both sides of the border, especially those that are key economic arteries, should have identical testing and tracing policies and resources as well as identical safety regulations and enforcement.”

Congresswoman Escobar concluded the letter by calling for the presidents to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrants at the border, describing the dangerous conditions in migrant camps, and stating that, “Both countries – the United States and Mexico – have been complicit in creating these conditions and have an obligation to end the unlawful immigration policies that are putting these vulnerable populations in potentially deadly situations.”

The full letter can be read here.

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