U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are temporarily being placed on port of entry bridges in a proactive effort to “expedite the processing of lawful travel”, a CBP spokesperson said in a statement to KTSM.
Customs and Border Protection agents continue to set up a makeshift station right at the boundary line between the U.S. and Mexico on the Bridge of the Americas. Pedestrians are being asked for documentation before being able to pass through. pic.twitter.com/WFZFGBpkw4— Estefanía Seyffert (@EstefSeyffert) June 19, 2018
According to the statement, officers are asking pedestrians to provide valid entry documentation to process undocumented people as quickly as possible.
Officials say no one is being denied the opportunity to seek asylum, but asylum seekers may need to wait in Mexico to allow CBP to process those who are already in its facilities.
“Port of Entry facilities were not designed to hold hundreds of people at a time who may be seeking asylum,” the statement reads.
According to CBP, the number of people able to be processed “varies based upon case complexity, available resources, medical needs, translation requirements, holding/detention space, overall port volume, and ongoing enforcement actions.”
Officials say CBP has had to limit the number of people who can be brought in for processing at a given time, but expect this to be a temporary situation.
Read CBP’s full statement below:
When our ports of entry reach capacity, when their ability to manage all of their missions — counter-narcotics, national security, facilitation of lawful trade — is challenged by the time and the space to process people that are arriving without documents, from time to time we have to manage the queues and address that processing based on that capacity.By putting officers on the bridge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is taking a proactive approach to ensure that arriving travelers have valid entry documents in order to expedite the processing of lawful travel. That being said, CBP processes undocumented persons as expeditiously as possible without negating the agency’s overall mission, or compromising the safety of individuals within our custody.The number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process varies based upon case complexity; available resources; medical needs; translation requirements; holding/detention space; overall port volume; and ongoing enforcement actions. No one is being denied the opportunity to make a claim of credible fear or seek asylum. CBP officers allow more people into our facilities for processing once space becomes available or other factors allow for additional parties to arrive.Port of Entry facilities were not designed to hold hundreds of people at a time who may be seeking asylum. And we are also charged with keeping the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Balancing these demands, keeping illicit goods and people out of the country, and managing the influx of Central Americans seeking asylum (along with everything else we do) requires a careful balance of our resources and space.Depending upon port circumstances at the time of arrival, individuals presenting without documents may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities. The number of inadmissible individuals we are able to process in a day varies based on the complexity of the cases, resources available, medical needs, translation requirements, holding/detention space, overall port volume and enforcement actions. As in the past when we’ve had to limit the number of people we can bring in for processing at a given time, we expect that this will be a temporary situation.