It is undeniable that a phenomenon of agglomeration and long lines at the ports of entry will occur during the first days of the reopening and will continue until the end of this year due to the fact that we are already in the Christmas shopping season.
Heavy traffic and long hours of waiting time are already present today even without the restrictions. People have even had to wait more than 6 hours to cross into the United States. This negative factor will be accentuated and worsened now that all those vaccinated can go to the U.S. for tourism or to visit friends and family.
While it is true that the border communities, specifically San Ysidro, will benefit from the new flow of pedestrians and vehicles that will reopen their businesses and generate an important economic benefit, the counterpart comes when we realize that the San Ysidro and Otay ports of entry do not have enough personnel to meet the demand for document review to expedite the crossings, i.e. there is a lack of Customs and Border Patrol agents.
They would also be in charge of managing how many cars enter the country at a certain time, since generally on Thursdays and Fridays there was serious congestion in San Ysidro when everyone could cross. The merchants and residents of the area have now become accustomed to the tranquility and the fact that there has not been as much traffic during the last year. That picture will change with the flood of visitors starting in November.
To control entry into the U.S., CBP may implement random checks on vehicles, sending them to secondary inspections, which will result in longer waiting times for visitors.
Another factor of concern is the crowding at shopping malls, especially during the holiday season. While everyone used to keep their distance, how will it be now that there are more people circulating?
While this thought is on our minds, one hope for the future is the opening of the Mesa de Otay II International Crossing, which is already under construction and will add 10 more lanes for cars and 10 for cargo trucks, although the project is scheduled to open by the end of 2024.
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