YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Several Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are now helping Border Patrol process asylum seekers crossing into the United States.
Long lines at the border affect not only cars but pedestrian lanes for people who cross the border to work, shop, or seek medical care.
“I’m going to the us because I had surgery and I have a doctor’s appointment to get the staples off and I’m staying at my sister's house. It’s a long line and my stomach is swollen,” said Traveler Rosaima Lazcano.
San Luis, Arizona Mayor Nieves Riedel said six CBP agents have already been taken away from their normal duties to help border patrol process a backload of migrants.
Which is affecting travelers like Rosima and Alonzo.
“I’ve been in line for 2 and a half hours and I think the line is so long because CBP officers are being transferred to border patrol,” said Traveler Alonzo Aguirre.
Mayor Nieves Riedel said according to the port director, two lines are closed at the port.
Which means only 65 percent of the port is in operation.
“Most of them live in Mexico and they come across every day and it’s not only the field workers. We have hundreds of kids that go to the local schools that come every morning and they go back to Mexico in the afternoon,” said Mayor Riedel.
Riedel said originally, Border Patrol was going to take 50 percent of officers from the port, but local and state lawmakers fought to decrease that number.
“I’m very proud of the way everybody got together here in Yuma County and I was told that because we basically banned together with one single voice, that they were able to change course,” said Mayor Riedel.
Especially because this is a busy season at the port of entry.
“A lot of people will not come across to go shopping in Yuma or eat in Yuma or go to the movies in Yuma because they spend 3-4 hours in the line, so it’s not just us, it’s everybody, everybody is being affected by this,” explained Mayor Riedel.
As of now, there’s no word on when the CBP officers will be returning to their jobs at the port of entry, or when the closed lanes will reopen.