Border Wait Times Shorter Tuesday after 10 hour delays this weekend

Posted at 5:12 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 20:12:38-04

San Ysidro, CA (KGTV)- The border wait times to cross into the United States are significantly shorter Tuesday.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection App, the wait times at the border in San Ysidro averaged around an hour depending on the time of day.

In the last few days, border crossers reported waiting up to ten hours to cross into the U.S.

"A lot of people going to the border five, six hours before their work entry, it's been crazy," said Jose Montanez.

Montanez is a married father of two. He lives in Tijuana, but crosses to work as a manager at a taco factory. He said the lines this weekend were especially bad, even in the pedestrian lanes.

"Four hours, five hours waiting in line, standing in line, you get tired," said Montanez.

Last Friday, CBP began "adjusting operations" to focus on essential travel. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A spokesman with CBP sent 10News a statement, that reads in part:

"According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a recent survey of more than 100,000 travelers on the southwest border found that the vast majority of cross-border travel by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents is for purposes that are not deemed essential. To respond to the ongoing public health crisis and protect local southwest border communities, CBP is taking measures to discourage non-essential travel to and from Mexico to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. "

Fewer lanes and increased secondary inspections led to massive delays.

"If they have to ask more questions and isolate people from one another so the essential workers can go and cross faster, that would be perfect," said Montanez.

Instead, innocent workers are feeling the impact the most.

"Those that are crossing right now are doing so cause they really need to and they're going to continue crossing," said Paola Avila, of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Restrictions have been in place at the border since March. Avila said the new protocol now doesn't make sense, especially since San Diego County is off the state's COVID-19 monitoring list.

"Non-essential businesses are going to start reopening. More businesses are going to start reopening, so you're going to have a greater workforce that's going to have to facilitate those businesses reopening, but now you're going to have these restrictions. It's not in sync with the rest of our procedures and regulations and restrictions," said Avila.

She worries the strategy could backfire and lead to more virus spread, especially for people using the pedestrian walkway.

"Now, you have large masses of people with no social distancing, you're creating an unsafe environment," said Avila.

Montanez says he does his best to keep his distance while in line.

"You do, even though, you're close to each other, there's no space between the front and the back of you," said Montanez.

Agency officials urge people to only travel to Mexico if it's necessary.

"We need people to think twice about non-essential travel and to ask themselves if the travel is worth risking their lives and the lives of others. Mexico continues to experience spikes in positive COVID-19 cases along the Southwest border and it is our duty to do everything we can to protect our nation, including educating citizens and even discouraging non-essential travel to Mexico."