Waiting times at the border are increasing as schools in El Paso resume face-to-face tuition

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CBP: Crossing the border for educational purposes is legitimate under non-essential land travel restrictions

EL PASO, Texas (border report) – This week, cross-border commuters have experienced above-average waiting times for pedestrians at the ports of entry, coinciding with their personal return to class in El Paso.

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, waiting times almost doubled from the usual waiting time of 55 to 95 minutes on Monday morning. Traffic has decreased since then, but the CBP managers monitor traffic flows and adjust staff at peak times.

This photo by Reporte De Puentes shows students living in Juarez waiting in line at the Ysleta port of entry at 6:15 am on August 5, 2021 to go to El Paso.

“CBP officials who worked at the ports of entry found more traffic than normal traffic in both the pedestrian and vehicle lanes on Monday morning. Monday mornings are usually a busy time, but with face-to-face classes starting in multiple school districts, the volume has increased, “CBP said in a statement.

Images shared on online platforms on Thursday morning show dozens of young people and some adults grabbing their shoulders in the pedestrian zone of the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge. The crowd seemed to be walking towards the US inspection areas.

At the Paso del Norte International Bridge, KTSM observed young people with backpacks walking towards El Paso before sunrise.

“It is good that you will be with the teachers who are really helping (learning) you,” said one parent who refused to give his name.

“They are happy to leave even if they are concerned about what (people) are saying about the possible return of the pandemic and the new tribes,” said a mother who saw her children from the Mexican side of the bridge .

The USA, Mexico and Canada have not observed absolutely necessary travel restrictions since March 2020. The restrictions will remain in place until at least August 21st.

CBP said crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to attend school is an exception to the restrictions. Details including all exceptions to the travel ban can be found here.

Border Report reached out to various school districts regarding their policies towards students in Mexico and awaits a response. School districts typically only need a verifiable address within the district for a student to enroll.


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