Transmigrantes face long wait times to cross border in Los Indios

By: Christian von Preysing

Related Story

Another challenge at the border for a different group of people heading south: Transmigrantes are getting held up by long lines as they wait to process used car purchases.

A line four to five miles long was seen at the Free Trade International Bridge in Los Indios on Monday.

The people, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, are not here for immigration. The merchants from Central America buy used and damaged goods, most of the time vehicles, in the U.S and take them back home to sell.

But transmigrantes are saying it’s taking longer than usual to cross back.

"It normally takes a day, and we're through,” said Jose Rodriguez, a Guatemalan who flew into the U.S. under the transmigrante program. “Now we've been here a week."

Rodriguez bought two Honda CRV’s, one crashed and one with nearly 200,000 miles, and hooked them together. Now, he's waiting to drive them back.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says there are no changes on their end that would impact this traffic.

Channel 5 News contacted Mexican customs by phone, but couldn't get a response.

Cameron County International Bridge System Director Josue Garcia says there are serious delays from federal authorities in Mexico and that the Mexican customs computers were down on Monday.

The Mexican national guard is also getting involved in the process, which is making it take longer, Garcia said.

Garcia says people are waiting in line a week or longer, adding that Easter transmigrante traffic appears to have arrived early, which have added to the numbers.

Transmigrantes say these delays, on top of others they're anticipating, means weeks of lost work.

"This happens a lot at the Mexico-Guatemala border,” said Luis Fernando Escobar in Spanish. “It's like a business now. You arrive and wait two, three, four, up to six days to cross the border."


7 Days