TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In an effort to streamline the incoming flow of migrants, traffic at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border near Nogales were congested to say the least.
After two traffic lanes were closed off last week, delaying traveler for five hours or more over the weekend.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, times to get through were much slower, timing out around an hour or more.
“We‘ve never had five hour wait times,” Bruce Bracker, owner of a clothing store in downtown Nogales, said.
His store is just steps away from the pedestrian crossing, which is good for him. His business, as well as others around downtown, thrive on the foot traffic from Mexico. Luckily, the pedestrian cross-over wait times at the Dennis DeConcini Crossing have been around 15 minutes or less, but the money that comes from vehicle traffic is undeniable.
“It will impact the economy of southern Arizona,” Bracker said.
It’s a pain felt across the town, as the 60 days for high shopping dwindle by the hour.
“People aren’t going to want to continue to come this way if they’re going to have to spend six and seven and eight hours in line,” Jaime Chamberlain, a sponsor member of the Nogales/Santa Cruz County Port Authority, said.
In a report by the University of Arizona, it’s estimated the Mexican visitors spend more than $7.3 million a day in Arizona.
“I think the lines at the border are tough for us to take here in this community," Chamberlain said. "This community survives on Mexican shoppers, and so does the state of Arizona.”