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Border Crossers Say ID Requirement Caused Longer Lines

People at the San Ysidro border crossing complained they waited even longer than normal this Thursday to cross from Tijuana to San Diego. However, the massive delays and chaos many predicted did not p

Border Crossers Say ID Requirement Caused Longer Lines

People at the San Ysidro border crossing complained they waited even longer than normal this Thursday to cross from Tijuana to San Diego. However, the massive delays and chaos many predicted did not play out. Stricter rules that require U.S. citizens 19 and older to prove their citizenship when re-entering the U.S. went into effect at the border today. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

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A large electronic sign over the San Ysidro Port of Entry has advised border crossers of the new rules since December.

This morning, most U.S. citizens waiting in line were prepared for the change.

U.S. Citizen: I got my passport. I have my passport.

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Isackson: Was it difficult to get a copy of your birth certificate?

U.S. Citizen: No, my mom had it. Mom's have everything. So I just got a copy.

While getting the documents didn't seem to cause people much hardship, they said agents were spending more time screening people's papers. And that cause them to wait in line longer than normal to cross.

Various voices : One hour and a half. Right now, I'm waiting an hour and twenty minutes. Sometimes I wait 40 minutes. I got here at 7:35. And what time is it now? 8:58 a.m. -- so I've been waiting all this time.

The new rules aim to beef up national security by requiring U.S. citizens to prove their citizenship when they cross the border from Mexico or Canada.

Before today, one could simply say they were a U.S. citizen.

Now, people must show a U.S. passport or a government issued photo ID and birth certificate.

Ghurdit Dhilon directs operations for California's ports of entry.

At the San Ysidro border crossing this morning, he said he was not aware enforcing the new rules was causing delays.

Dhilon: I reviewed all the wait times from the ports of entry and I'm not seeing that. In fact, in some places, it is a few minutes less. Here, it was exactly the same today as it was yesterday.

However, Dhilon says things should get, quote, back to normal, end quote, in a week or so. He says agents will be lenient in enforcing the new rules.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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