"No one is using the new California border opening," said a CBP officer.
Relaxed pandemic restrictions allow borders to reopen.
It means immigrants have more options to enter America. But advocates grumble that many are unaware of the change. They hope the situation improves soon.
The other border crossings in California have heavy traffic. Except for one.
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry West Pedestrian Facility (Ped West) reopened. Officials closed it for almost three years due to the pandemic and travel restrictions. What happened during the closure? All foot commuters had to use the east side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry (Ped East). On that side, there are long lines and wait times to enter America.
But the Ped West pedestrian crossing is free of crowds.
Officials hoped the reopened Ped West would ease wait times. The pedestrian crossing in the northbound direction opens from 6 am to 2 pm daily. The southbound lanes will remain closed. Immigrants do not know about its reopening. So the heavy traffic on the Ped East continues.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not provide official numbers. Officials say the current numbers are lower than in previous years. Only a handful of people are taking advantage. The lucky ones who tried Ped West and found it open are happy.
One such commuter was Joe Hendrix.
He says, "I like it. Keep it low-key because we come through quick." Hendrix used the crossing to spend a night celebrating with friends in Tijuana. "This is so much easier to get back and forth. Sometimes it takes hours in the (other) line. It’s not even worth it — know what I mean?"
Ped West opened in July 2016. Records suggest over 60,000 pedestrians once used it daily to go back and forth between Mexico and the U.S.
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