The president of Mexico Felipe Calderon officially inaugurated the El Chaparral entrance on November 1st, which is a new facility that has a 22 gate port, an X-ray machine, and vehicle scales designed to uncover any smuggling of drugs, money, and weapons to Mexican cartels.
With the exception of when CBP would do random checkups at the end of the I-5 freeway, driving into Mexico from San Diego was a mostly a hassle-free experience for many years: There were few customs inspectors, fewer gates, and most of the time, no questions asked, but that all changed a few days ago
People from Tijuana and tourists are all protesting the increased wait times, which many of them have used Facebook and Twitter to comment on their frustration by spending one and in some cases more than two hours bumper to bumper at El Chaparral.
“They have all kinds of officials checking cars like customs officials, agriculture inspectors, and the military. From planning to execution this is Mexican bureaucracy at its best.” said Doctor Linda Avena, who is from Tijuana.
Others also complain on how confusing is to take the right exit to the city once you are in Tijuana.
“They need to improve the signal displays since if you are going south of Tijuana or downtown you can find yourself in the wrong lane too late to do anything” said Karina Padilla, another Tijuana citizen.
For many Mexicans this is a long weekend of November 2nd, which is the traditional celebration of the “Day of the Dead”.
Many places are closed like schools, banks, and government offices.
Not everybody that crossed the long lines this past Friday was unhappy about the delays. Alejandro Ochoa, a collector who lives in Tijuana and works in San Diego said: “No worries, it’s just they are new at this and adding the Mexican holiday was not a good mix. It will be business as usual by Monday.” Maybe he is right, at least that’s all of us hope for.