Increased security measures at some of Arizona’s ports of entry have led to extended wait times, according to Customs and Border Protection. This week, Guadalupe Ramirez, the agency’s director of field operations in Arizona, discussed the changes with Lorraine Rivera.
Ramirez said that large numbers of migrants seeking asylum have started rushing the ports. When they are on U.S. soil, CBP is legally obligated to process them first, in turn pushing other asylum seekers to the back of the line.
"There's a danger in that both for them and our officers, as well as the traveling public," Ramirez said.
The influx of individuals running through the passenger lanes has disrupted operations, Ramirez said, adding the agency has had to put security measures in place like restricting the number of lanes to narrow their entry.
“Our primary mission of facilitating travel and trade is still our top priority,” Ramirez said. “However, when you have these instances happen, you have to realign your resources. You wind up reducing staff in other processes.”