International Bank of Commerce leaders welcomed news that the Biden administration intends to relax travel restrictions on land-border crossings from Mexico and Canada. The restrictions, which have been in place since March 2020 and have barred land-border crossings to all “non-essential” travel, have devastated the border economy in South Texas.
“Businesses that were already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic were wrecked by the border closure,” said Dennis Nixon, president of IBC Bank and chairman of the board of International Bancshares Corporation. “In Laredo, for example, Mexican shoppers account for 40 to 45 percent of retail activity, according to a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve. Similar economic impacts from Mexican visitors can be found in Brownsville, McAllen and Eagle Pass,” Nixon added.
“These supposedly temporary border closures were instituted in the early days of the pandemic, without any scientific rationale, in the hope that they would slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They’ve been extended, month after month for 20 months. Now, perhaps, we’re seeing a more sensible approach to land-border crossings,” Nixon concluded.
The current restrictions only apply to land-border crossings. Air travel from Mexico and Canada is not subject to the essential travel requirement. Beginning in November, foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States at land borders for nonessential reasons will be allowed to enter with proof of vaccination.
“Our border communities are in fact one city spanning two countries,” said IBC Bank Executive Vice President Gerald “Gerry” Schwebel. “For 20 months, the ban on non-essential travel has separated families, hurt businesses and disrupted the historic ties that bind residents of both sides of the border. As we approach the holiday season, there is now some hope that the traditional interaction that makes our communities so vibrant may return.”
About IBC Bank
IBC Bank and Commerce Bank are divisions of International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), a $15.3 billion multi-bank financial holding company headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with 186 facilities and 281 ATMs serving 87 communities in Texas and Oklahoma. IBC Bank’s slogan “We Do More” reflects the bank’s dedication to the growth and success of the customers and the communities it has been serving since 1966. IBC Bank recently made the Forbes list of top eight banks in Texas and was among the World’s Best Banks 2021 list. MEMBER FDIC / INTERNATIONAL BANCSHARES CORPORATION. Follow our Facebook and Instagram page, @IBCBankWeDoMore. More information is available at ibc.com.
IBC Bank – Laredo