The Main Stream

Mar 7, 2013 6:56 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Crossing border could take even longer

NOGALES - People who cross the border in Nogales say wait times at the ports of entry can vary anywhere between 20 minutes to two hours, depending on the day and depending on the season.

On Thursday, Claudia Sandoval said it took her just 20 minutes to cross at the Dennis DeConcini port. She said even if sequestration impacts wait times at the port she will continue to visit Nogales, Sonora, "well, I have family in Mexico so it doesn't really matter."

But Terry and Judy Fuller who live in Tucson and visit Nogales, Sonora when they have family come in from out of town question how sequestration will actually play out, "as far as the sequestration, I'm just waiting to see. There's a lot of lot of politic drama and not a lot of substance so we're waiting to see what happens," Terry said. Meantime, his wife Judy worries about the CBP officers who will be impacted, "my concern I guess mostly is the pay cut that people could be experiencing here and you know what are people going to do to make a living."

In a statement released Thursday, Customs and Border Protection said, "In order to address the budget cuts imposed by sequestration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection must take significant budget reduction actions. CBP's planned furlough of employees, along with reductions to overtime, will reduce take home earnings for many members of the CBP workforce. CBP is focusing its remaining resources on its core mission areas, operating in the way that is least disruptive to the facilitation of lawful travel and trade and our employees, while not compromising our security mission. Because CBP is reducing, but not absolutely eliminating overtime pay, and because the length of the sequestration is unknown, it is difficult to project the impact of the reductions on individual employees or job occupations with any degree of certainty."

Arturo Garino the mayor of Nogales said wait times have been an issue at the port for the last five years. He said though he has not yet seen the impacts of sequestration at any of the three ports of entry in Nogales, he worries about how CBP will impose the cuts, "They need to utilize their time as best as possible to get those people across efficiently. Those 60,000 people over there, the floating population that we have from Nogales, Sonora to Nogales, Arizona and Tucson that's what we need. That's where our bread and butter, that's the oil of the machine of this government."

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