Mexicans Protest New El Chaparral Border Crossing
On Oct. 31, a group of more than 100 Mexican citizens demonstrated in Tijuana, calling for their government to re-open the old port of entry in addition to the new border crossing facility.
A coalition calling themselves Los Integrantes de la Coalición Pro Puerta México, or, the Coalition for the Port of Mexico, demonstrated to protest Mexico's new 22-lane border crossing, El Chaparral, which opened on Nov. 1.
The day after Mexico opened its new expanded 22-lane facility, wait times to cross into Tijuana at peak times were reported to be around two hours.
Instead of exclusively using the new border crossing as a portal into Mexico, the group says that the old border crossing should be left open as well.
Coalition leader Alberto Escourido Moreno was quoted as saying that leaving both border crossings open would create an "escape valve" should southbound traffic become congested.
Escourido Moreno, a businessman, said that easing the flow of traffic into Mexico should be a priority, since it helps tourism and cross-border commerce.
The new state-of-the-art crossing, which cost Mexico more than $20 million to build, is currently hindered by a bottleneck traffic pattern. That’s because Interstate 5 on the U.S. side hasn’t been rerouted to get cars to El Chaparral, so they're forced to take a makeshift access road.
Frequent border crossers accustomed to long waits to get into the U.S. have been frustrated with the new delays for entering Mexico. So have Tijuana business owners, who fear commerce and tourism may suffer.
Even Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante has made statements expressing dismay, saying that worries about long wait times to enter Mexico might replace previous concerns over security in the region.
The Mexican government has not announced any plans to re-open the old facility.