Omicron variant prompts travel restrictions from African countries

1 month 3 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, December 01 2021 Dec 1, 2021 December 01, 2021 7:19 AM December 01, 2021 in News - Immigration / Borderwall

As of Monday, travel restrictions are now in effect for eight countries in and around southern Africa.

According to the White House, the Republic of South Africa reported discovering the new omicron variant.

Now, along the border, agents in charge of apprehending people who cross will also be tasked with determining where they've been.

"They're going to have to determine whether they can admit those people," said immigration attorney Carlos M. Garcia. "They're going to have to determine where the people have been. For instance, here, if they've been in one of the affected countries."

Garcia says this will be more work for agents. The travel restriction means, barring some exceptions, someone who's spent any of the last 14 days in South Africa, or the other seven countries, will not be allowed in.

The question now is, how common is that traffic through our border from Southern Africa?

Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s also running for re-election, said in a tweet that 50 immigrants from South Africa were apprehended so far in 2021.

Data from 2007 to 2020 shows U.S. Customs and Border Protection made the following number of apprehensions at the border from southern Africa countries:

  • • South Africa - 62
  • • Zimbabwe - 22
  • • Botswana - 1
  • • Swaziland - 1
  • • Lesotho - 0
  • • Malawi - 2
  • • Mozambique - 0
  • • Namibia - 1

On Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said there's no reason to worry about the omicron variant. It's currently unclear if Mexico's federal government will implement any changes.

For now, the travel restrictions remain in effect indefinitely at the border.

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