SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — For the last two months, Esmeralda Hernandez says she has been getting up at 5 every morning before rushing out to the border.
Hernandez lives in Tijuana, but like thousands of other south-of-the-border residents, she is employed in the San Diego area.
Since September, her morning routine has involved standing in long lines on the east side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry to gain access to the U.S.
Because of these long waits, Hernandez has been looking forward to Ped West reopening, something that happened Thursday morning.
“It means we can get a little bit more sleep, so you’re a little more rested, you’re happier and can spend more time with the kids in the morning. And now, I don’t have to pray to God that I can cross before 9 or 9:30 in the morning.”
Ped West was first 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.
This forced everyone on foot to cross the border on the other side of the San Ysidro Pedestrian crossing.
“That border crossing is minimum two hours, the longest we’ve done in line is four and a half hours,” said Hernandez.
After crossing through Ped West for the first time in two months, her wait was a lot different.
“It took me five minutes to cross the border,” she said.
Like other commuters, Hernandez says it would really help if the southbound lanes into Mexico would also open for the evening commute.
“We’re tired, and then having to get in another line — if they opened in the other way, it would be so good.”
There is no indication when Ped West in a southbound direction will open.
Officials on both sides of the border have said they are working on it.
For now, Ped West will only be in operation from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. and only in a northbound direction.