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Border wait times in Nogales causing concern

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TUCSON - Visitors traveling to Nogales, Mexico are noticing long wait times at the ports of entries.

On Monday evening, people saw wait times of four hours at the Deconcini Port of Entry along the U.S. - Mexico border.

Some seniors we talked to say they are concerned with the lack of social distancing and the hot temperatures.

On May 19, President Trump extended travel restrictions along the U.S. -Mexico border. As a result, the port of Nogales is operating with reduced lanes as they enforce essential travel only.

"No social distancing, no water, no bathrooms," Jane Pavone said. "We're seniors. You know I have stayed away from my children and my grandchildren because of the virus and now I'm surrounded by strangers that are sneezing and coughing and I was very worried."

Pavone says last week she waited over three hours coming back into the U.S. from a dental office.

"I had a 9:00 appointment and by 10:00 I was done and finished with the dentist, "John Cole said. "I walked across and got in line to get to the border and I had to walk much further into Mexico to even get to the line then the dentist was."

The wait not only impacting tourists but residents trying to get to work.

"There's only one guard. They are checking hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line to get in there is only one person checking," Cole said.

We reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who gave us the following statement.

On May 19, 2020, President Trump extended temporary travel restrictions along the United States and Mexican border.  The Port of Nogales is operating with reduced lanes as it continues to enforce the current travel restrictions of essential travel only.  The port consistently monitors traffic and opens additional lanes as resources allow.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our workforce and the American people. CBP has implemented a proactive, multi-layered approach to minimize exposure of COVID-19 as they fulfill CBP’s critical national security mission.  

CBP will continue to take every necessary precaution in order to keep our employees, their families and the American people safe during the current pandemic.  

Travelers can visit the https://bwt.cbp.gov/ to obtain hourly wait times and plan their essential travel accordingly.  

For additional information on current travel restriction and essential travel, please reference https://bit.ly/2ZhTjQ2.

One business owner we talked to says he hopes local leaders can make a change.

"Please call your senators and ask them to make this right," Dr. Mark McMahon, Owner of Coyote Dental said. "I mean it's a very simple fix. Someone just has to assign someone to those checkpoints and the issue is solved so simple."

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Denelle Confair

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