SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Leticia Ruiz wakes up early each morning in her Tijuana home to get ready to go to work just north of the border.
If she’s lucky, she might get an extra hour of sleep.
“I get up at 4:30 to check the line. If it’s not long, I can get one more hour. If it is, I have to get up, get ready — no breakfast — and just come over to the border,” she said.
Ruiz said this is her daily routine as she works at an outlet mall across the street from Ped West, one of two pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Ped West closed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020. It wasn’t until January of this year that CBP reopened Ped West, but only to commuters heading north into the U.S. The southbound lanes of Ped West have remained closed.
Back in September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection again closed Ped West so officers could tend to an influx of migrants and asylum-seekers.
“It’s been a hassle,” said Ruiz as she described having to go to the other side of the port of entry where the lines are a lot longer. “It’s an everyday struggle. Before it was only one hour or 40 minutes; now it’s two to three hours, that’s a big deal.”
CBP plans to reopen the northbound lanes of Ped West on Thursday, something Ruiz said will make her life easier.
“It will be better much better, I’ll have time to have breakfast at home and get to the border, and with no traffic.”
Cab drivers who wait outside the building were also happy about the facility reopening.
“This is good news, we need more people, more business,” said a cab driver who asked not to be identified. “Right now, if you get migrants who need a ride you’re lucky, but having more people around will make things better.”
Others are also excited about the port of entry reopening to northbound commuters.
“This is great timing — with holiday shopping ramping up, as well as extended holiday work hours for our retailers, and in light of horrendous southbound vehicle waits we’re seeing now on a daily basis,” said Jennifer Goudeau, president of the San Ysidro Improvement Corporation Board.
If you ask Ruiz, things could get better.
She would like to see the southbound gates opened as well.
Ruiz said it would save her about two hours of walking and standing in line nightly if CBP opened that side of the crossing.
“It would be nice if they opened going back to Tijuana, that would make it even easier for us.”
There had been talks to open in a southbound direction, but the conversation ended when CBP decided to close Ped West two months ago.
Once the northbound lanes of Ped West reopen, they will be in operation from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.