EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S. officials have reintroduced student-only lanes at an El Paso port of entry, given a significant increase in early morning pedestrian traffic since in-person classes resumed this week at El Paso public schools.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the dedicated student lanes are now operating at the inspection areas of the Paso del Norte International Bridge. The agency placed on Thursday morning placed signs at the border crossing informing the public of the change. Before the sign, CBP officers were informally directing students to the inspection points dedicated just for them.
At the Ysleta port of entry pedestrian inspection area, CBP added a mobile processing station and increased capacity to four lanes. Its agents are directing pedestrians to the correct lanes to expedite the inspection process. “Although crowded, wait times Thursday morning were in the 30-minute range,” CBP said in a statement.
Earlier, Border Report and KTSM documented a substantial spike in border wait times in El Paso coinciding with the start of classes at the various school districts in the region. Wait times spiked from 55 minutes to more than an hour and a half on Monday, the first day of classes.
CBP said no changes had been made at the Bridge of the Americas, but managers continue to monitor traffic flows and adjusting staff accordingly during peak periods.
The agency said students coming from Juarez, Mexico, can expedite their entry by having their Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant documents – such as a U.S. passport or passport card). It also urges border commuters to readily declare what items they’re bringing across the border to expedite entry.
“We would also suggest that travelers and border crossers plan accordingly and allow extra time if they intend to cross the international bridges during peak travel hours, including school-day mornings,” according to CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha.
Travelers can monitor border wait times at Border Wait Times. There are options to view current and historical trends.