U.S. Customs and Border Protection are preparing for the potential arrival of a migrant caravan through our southern border.
Authorities are also anticipating an increase in travelers this weekend, in celebration of holy week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at Hidalgo-Pharr and Anzalduas Ports of Entry process an average of 14,000 travelers a week. But say that number is expected to increase by 20% starting this weekend.
“Be prepared, there could be long wait times. Make sure your vehicle is in good running order. We also see that occasionally where people’s car heat up a little bit so take all those things into consideration.” Says Phillip Barrera CBP supervisor.
Barrera advices travelers to declare everything whether it’s prohibited or not to avoid penalty fees.
“There are certain things that are prohibited, citrus items like apples, mangoes of course can’t come in, sugar cane can’t come in unless it’s cut into pieces and it’s peeled.” Says Barrera.
Barrera adds while CBP officers are preparing for travelers, they are also receiving training on special response tactics in anticipation of a possible migrant caravan and ask travelers to be aware of high visibility operations happening along the bridges.
“CBP in general from headquarters is going to be sending officers from the northern border and from major airports to come relieve some of the officers that have been deployed from our port and from this area. That should alleviate having to have our port deficient in staffing.”
CBP officers encourage travelers to have their documents ready to facilitate wait times. Officials say CBP officers from the northern border will be replacing CBP officers currently supporting border patrol along the southwest border. It is still unknown how many officers will be deployed.