EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Border commuters endured unusually long waits to cross from Juarez, Mexico, into the United States on Thursday. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website showed wait times of 200 minutes at Bridge of the Americas port of entry and 180 minutes at Paso del Norte Bridge for passenger vehicles at 1 p.m.
The usual waits at that time are around an hour, according to the site.
“I’ve been in line one hour, more or less,” said Aracely, an El Paso resident waiting in line to get back home. “Cars should be flowing more” quickly.
Border commuters shared photos of at least three of the 12 inspection booths at Paso del Norte being closed during peak crossing hours on Thursday.
The delays happened a day after hundreds of migrants crossed the Rio Grande into El Paso and were taken to already-crowded CBP processing centers.
Border Report reached out to CBP for comment. The agency sent a statement saying wait times fluctuate and are unpredictable. The agency on Sept. 15 reassigned officers from its cargo inspection lanes to help out the U.S. Border Patrol process migrants at El Paso Sector facilities. That closed the closing of the cargo lanes.
But the agency told border report CBP “has made no additional staffing adjustments since announcing the suspension of cargo processing” at Bridge of the Americas.
CBP also confirmed that it interrupted traffic earlier in the day to conduct “mobile field force” safety exercises, but those interruptions usually last 15 minutes.
“The SENTRI program remains an option for border crossers who are looking for consistently predictable and shorter crossing times. Those interested in (this) trusted traveler program and meet requirements are encouraged to apply,” the CBP statement said.
Meantime, wait times remained at more than six hours at El Paso’s remaining commercial truck crossing, the Ysleta Port of Entry. Business and local government officials blame those delays not on CBP but on supplemental inspections being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety as the trucks exit the customs lot.