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What's fueling local border back-ups?

Some say they've waited hours to return to the U.S.
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 21:17:42-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's always harder in the summer season to cross the U.S.-Ontario border, but this season, there's a longer wait than usual coming into the American side.

"We've seen an increase compared to last year 10-15 minutes more, so if you were seeing an average wait time of 25 minutes last year in the summer, you might be seeing 35-40 minutes right now," explained Customs and Border Protection public affairs liaison Aaron Bowker.

Though it's always busy this time of year, this time, there's another reason.

"There's a humanitarian crisis on the southern border, part of our job is to work where it’s needed and down there right now our brethren in U.S. Border Patrol need our assistance," said Bowker.

With fewer staff working, there's a longer wait at the Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Rainbow Bridge.

Travelers at the northern border aren't too happy about this.

"I don't think it's necessary, it's not fair," said Falicia Mahmood who was traveling to Toronto to visit family.

"They're needed here too, not only down there," said Elizabeth Dowhaluk who was traveling back home to Ontario.

Reporter Taylor Epps clocked the wait time on a Wednesday around 1pm and said it only took her about 16 minutes. Many say the weekends are the really busy times.

Many are now planning ahead.

"We have work on Monday, so now we’re trying to leave the party early to leave to come back to New York early just because of this line," said Mahmood.

There's no telling when CBP officers will return, but in the meantime Bowker asks people to stay patient.

"An extra 10 minutes really isn’t that long and understanding what’s at stake, the officers have this important job to do they have this important border security mission to do," said Bowker.