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Border wait times increase under new CBP protocols aimed at non essential travel

Tijuana long lines
Posted at 9:57 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 02:08:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - An elderly woman died while she was with her family waiting to cross the border into San Diego Sunday afternoon, according to our reporting partner Televisa.

Televisa reported it is unknown why the woman, who was in her late 80s, passed away.

This comes as people on both sides of the border expressed frustration at incredibly long wait times.

"It's unfortunate because I think the policies that CBP puts in place, protocols, punish border crossers," Pedro Rios said. He said it took four hours to cross in Otay Mesa on Saturday.

New protocols went into effect on Friday due to the pandemic. Customs and Border Protection planned on slowing down traffic, closing lanes and adding secondary inspections, aimed at delaying those traveling for non-essential reasons.

In addition to San Diego, Tucson, Arizona, El Paso, and Laredo Texas have similar protocols in place.

One woman waiting to cross into San Ysidro told Televisa, "Yes it is difficult, but no one wants to be here in Tijuana."

Another woman said they were heading to the U.S. to visit friends and go to the beach. When Televisa asked if they thought that was essential travel, they replied in Spanish, "Yes, because we're tired and angry. If you're following the regulations, staying away from people, have your mask and disinfectant ... if you're following the protocol, you can."

The restrictions on non-essential travel do not apply to anyone crossing the border for work, school, or medical treatment.

The restrictions are set to continue through September 21.

ABC 10News reached out to CBP for comment and will update this story when they respond.