EL PASO, Texas – In the days leading to Valentine’s Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s officers and agriculture specialists will be busy with travelers arriving at the El Paso ports of entry. Groceries, plants, medications, liquor, pets and personal purchases made in Mexico need to be declared when returning to the United States.
“We encourage all travelers who plan to cross the border with Valentine’s related flowers and goods as well as those who will be crossing in the days ahead of the papal visit to consult the CBP website to learn more about rules and regulations,” said Beverly Good, CBP El Paso Port Director.
As Valentine’s Day approaches CBP recommends to individuals bringing flower arrangements from Mexico to be aware of prohibited flowers and floral fillers that are not allowed into the United States from Mexico. Some of the prohibited cut flowers seen in this area are chrysanthemums, gladiolas, mock orange, choysia, cedar, and juniper. If found, Agriculture specialists will have to remove the stems from the flower arrangement. Individuals purchasing floral arrangements in Mexico for import to the U.S. should advise their florist so prohibited plant species will not be used in the arrangement.
For other items such as fresh produce, meats, plants, personal purchases, or gifts, the public will need to declare at the time of inspection to expedite travel and avoid receiving a civil penalty or seizure of the item. Penalties for failure to declare or smuggling can be issued if an individual is trying to import a prohibited product.
Prohibited agriculture items are not allowed to enter the U.S. from foreign countries because they are known to harbor harmful pests and disease. Agriculture specialists ensure that plant and animal pests and diseases are detected and stopped from being introduced into the United States where they could cause harm. Port of El Paso CBP agriculture specialists performing agriculture exams recorded a total of 43,367 quarantine material interceptions and 2,754 pest interceptions during fiscal year 2015.