CBP To Host Pre-Easter “Ready Traveler” Outreach Event
EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso port of entry will conduct a “Ready Traveler” outreach event for members of the traveling public March 16 at the Paso Del Norte international crossing. The event will be conducted in the pedestrian inspection area Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon.
CBP has previously hosted agriculture related public outreach events at area ports in advance of the Easter holiday. CBP agriculture specialists will be on site to interact with the traveling public and answer questions. Examples of prohibited goods will be shown. Educational posters showcasing the damage and harm that pests and disease can cause will also be showcased.
“This is a good time of year to educate members of the traveling public about what they can and cannot bring into the United States,” said Beverly Good, CBP El Paso Port Director. “Many more people than normal cross the border during the Easter season so this is an excellent time to reach a large and broad audience in an engaging and informative way.”
The goals of the event include educating the traveling public on the CBP agriculture mission. CBP will utilize displays and handouts to inform the public about pest and disease issues that could arise from importing prohibited items.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, USDA personnel, Consumer Products Safety Commission, FDA, and CDC representatives will also be on site to engage travelers and share inform about regulations related to their agencies.
The upcoming Easter holiday week is time when CBP notes an increase in personal importations of cascarones. CBP agriculture specialists will remind travelers that they can legally import up to 10 cascarones but they must be completely clean and be presented for inspection. The colorful confetti-filled eggshells are a concern because they may introduce Newcastle’s Disease to the U.S. poultry industry. Violators are subject fines.
Another popular but banned Easter related product are Kinder Eggs. These are hollow milk chocolate eggs packaged in a colorful wrapper. A toy within the egg is contained in an oval-shaped plastic capsule. Many of the toys that have been tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the past were determined to present a choking hazard for young children. CBP in El Paso has intercepted these products in the past and will be watching for this product this year as well.
CBP is also offering a number of travel tips to help expedite the border crossing experience.
Tip #1 – Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection including a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approved document for U.S. citizens.
Tip #2 – Drivers with RFID-enabled documents should consider using one of the designated Ready Lanes at area ports. Processing times at these lanes are generally 15-20 seconds quicker per vehicle than non-Ready lanes.
Tip #3 – Visit the port of entry to obtain I-94 travel documents in advance of the busiest holiday travel periods. This will allow travelers who require I-94 documents (those planning to travel beyond the border zone or stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days) to bypass those lines when they formally enter the U.S. They will still be subject to the inspection process.
Tip #4 – Travelers approaching an interior Border Patrol checkpoint should have their documents ready to present to the U.S. Border Patrol agent if asked. This will save time.
Tip #5 – Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.
Tip #6 – Travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic. This includes SENTRI/Dedicated Commuter Lane (DCL) users.
Tip #7 – Travelers are encouraged to visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items.
Tip #8 – Consult the CBP website to monitor border crossing times. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.
Tip #9 – During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. They should also travel during non-peak hours if their schedule allows.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.