New Social Distancing Measures At Port Of Entry Causing Crowding Outside

Published: Monday, May 18, 2020 - 5:05am
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There is rarely a wait for northbound pedestrians crossing the border at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. But some border crossers are concerned that new social distancing strategies inside the port are causing unsafe crowding for people waiting outside.

"There’s just this long line of people who are huddled close together," said Katie Sharar, who crosses the border frequently to work at a soup kitchen run by the migrant aid group Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora. "It's creating a problem that didn't exist before."

Sharar said she usually waits less than 5 minutes to re-enter the United States on foot at the Mariposa Port of Entry. Now, she’s spending nearly two hours outside the port where there is no access to shade and neither U.S. nor Mexican officials seem to be doing anything to encourage social distancing among waiting pedestrians.

Customs and Border Protection did not directly respond to questions about crowding at the port but said in a statement Thursday that officers are being required to use agency-approved masks for duties with an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, including encounters with the traveling public.

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