U.S. Customs and Border Protection last weekend removed some of the shipping containers that had been blocking northbound vehicle lanes at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry since the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and opened seven lanes for travelers as opposed to the maximum of five that had been available since November.
CBP said it closed the lanes in response to attempts by asylum-seeking migrants to reach U.S. soil by rushing the port. Following the closures, traffic bottlenecks at the port during peak holiday hours had led to wait times that reached eight hours or more during the first weekend of January.
In the weeks since the closures, the federal government began implementing a program in Nogales known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, which sends asylum-seekers back to Nogales, Sonora to await their court date in the United States.
In a statement emailed Monday in response to a request for comment on the re-opened lanes, a CBP spokesman said: “The situation is being closely monitored by port management, and operations will adjust as needed. CBP is committed to the safety of all travelers and its personnel.”