KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Economy

informal workers window cleaner
Corrie Boudreaux / El Paso Matters

 

EL PASO -- A year after the U.S. border was closed to all non-essential travel, the pandemic has underscored an informal economy that many fronterizos prefer not to talk about even as they struggle to adapt to a new reality.

 

“We were quickly trying to scramble and figure out what we do next,” said Patricia, a single mother of three in El Paso. Her family relied on a woman from Ciudad Juárez to help care for her ailing grandmother.  

 

Border Shutdown Paso del Norte Bridge
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

CIUDAD JUAREZ --It’s been more than six months since the U.S. and Mexico border closed to all but essential travel to slow the spread of COVID-19. The disruption of lives and livelihoods has been widespread on both sides during the pandemic. 

Marco Antonio Corral, 60, has watched it all unfold from the middle of the Paso del Norte Bridge where just over the borderline on the Mexican side he peddles potato chips and cold water to drivers and passengers stuck in idling cars calling out “Papitas! Agua!”