Tijuana border closes after migrant demonstrations

SAN YSIDRO — Cars inched forward toward the 805 North Freeway at the San Ysidro border after its six-hour closure Sunday.

The San Ysidro port of entry, which sits between San Diego and Tijuana, was closed around 11:20 a.m and didn’t fully open again until 5:11 p.m.

Central American migrants have been gathering in Tijuana for weeks to seek asylum in the United States, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.

According to a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Control, additional personnel were sent to the San Ysidro port of entry in preparation for multiple planned demonstrations on both sides of the border.

Authorities from the Metropolitan Transit System and the San Diego Police Department met last Tuesday to create a contingency plan in case tensions rose on the border, Metropolitan Transit System transportation supervisor John Tarantino said.

At 11:19 a.m., San Diego U.S. Customs & Border Protection tweeted that both northbound and southbound lanes leading to Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry were closed.

An order by the federal government ordered trains from the San Diego Trolley to turn back one stop before San Ysidro, Tarantino said.

Alison Chang, 25, and her mother Betty Chang, 65, were stuck in a line at the Otay Mesa port of entry for four hours. The port was filled with people who had traveled to the nearest border crossing after hearing of San Ysidro’s closure.

Around 4 p.m., when they found out that the San Ysidro border was set to open again, she called her husband to pick them up and drive them over. In line, she met Mina Resendiz, and her two sons Esteban and Jesahias.

They crammed into Chang’s husband’s car, along with two others, and all eight of them drove an hour to San Ysidro.

“We cross every Sunday,” Resendiz said. “It takes 10 to 15 minutes, 20 minutes at most.”

She lives in Tijuana, but drives her sons over the border every week to attend Escondido High School.

“We were expecting this,” Resendiz said. “Just not now.”

After the closure ended, things seemed to quiet down on the U.S. side.

“It was quiet over here,” Tarantino said. “No mobs, no yelling.”

Near the entrance of the border facility, CBP officers, U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement officers and uniformed soldiers were seen packing up their gear to head home for the night.

According to the press release from U.S. Customs and Border Control, earlier in the day some had attempted to enter the U.S. illegally through both the northbound and southbound vehicle lanes of the port entry.

“There are good and bad people,” Resendiz said. “People are just trying to look for a better life.”

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