November 19, 2021

Border traffic rebounding

Arizona 360 examines how federal officers are handling the increase in traffic and monitoring vaccinate documents.

The U.S. reopened its land crossings to vaccinated, foreign visitors on November 8th. That was good news for businesses in places like Nogales, Arizona which depends on cross-border shoppers.

When the gates for northbound shoppers from Mexico reopened not only were merchants ready, so were officers at the three Nogales ports of entry.

"So we've been getting ready for this for the past few months realigning staffing, anticipating, working with governments on both sides of the border to include law enforcement and elected officials," said Mike Humphries, Nogales Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The drop in crossings was significant at all of Arizona's ports of entry. In Nogales, 362,000 pedestrians entered the country through the port in December 2019. In April 2020, that number had dropped to 53,000.

Passenger vehicle crossings also dropped by close to 500,000 in the same time frame.

The one thing that did keep with its usual trends was commercial trucking bringing everything from produce to cars across the border.

In Nogales, the numbers of personal car and pedestrian crossings began to increase in April of this year but are still not close to the levels they were in 2019. At smaller ports like Douglas and San Luis, the crossings are rebounding more quickly.

Andrew Oxford and Christopher Conover contributed to this report.

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