Leaders Debate Closing U.S.-Mexico Border

Amid the debate on whether the U.S. should shut down travel across the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. officials at the San Ysidro border took precautions Tuesday by screening passengers who look like they may be sick. People who appear sick may be pulled out of line and given masks or gloves to wear. So far there were no restrictions in place.

Most Mexican immigration officials at the Tijuana-San Diego crossing were using masks and surgical gloves Monday, but Mexicans crossing by car and foot seemed unconcerned by the influenza scare and only a handful wore masks, according to Reuters.

"I don't think anything will happen to me, it's old people and children we need to look after," said Gloria, a 35-year-old woman waiting to cross by car into California who declined to give her last name.

Reported cases of the illness has involved children over the age of 3 and adults between 25 and 45, according to health officials.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, urged the Obama administration to consider shutting down all "nonessential" travel from Mexico to the United States, according to the North County Times.

"If the State Department is restricting all nonessential U.S. travel to Mexico as a precaution, similar steps should also be taken to restrict cross-border traffic entering the U.S. from Mexico,"Hunter said in a statement issued in Washington.

"Given the San Diego community's close proximity to the border and the fact that nearly 340,000 people enter the U.S. through Southern California's ports of entry every day, the necessary precautions must be taken to ensure this virus does not spread any more," Hunter said.

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she doesn't see the logic in closing the border now that swine flu is already in the U.S.

She also stressed that many jobs and the U-S food supply are dependent on keeping the border open.

In Mexico, state health authorities looking for the initial source of the outbreak toured a million-pig hog farm in Perote, in Veracruz State. the NY Times reported Tuesday. The plant is half-owned by Smithfield Foods, an American company and the world’s largest pork producer, according to the paper.

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