Calexico, Calif. - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Calexico West port of entry today resumed normal operations and is operating at 100 percent after shutting down northbound vehicle traffic through the port on Sunday evening following a devastating earthquake in Mexico.
"Our thoughts are with those who are suffering as a result of this disaster," stated CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin. "The men and women of CBP are committed to working with the affected communities to help ensure the continuity of our operations. Our ability to respond quickly to these types of challenges is imperative to our mission."
Normal pedestrian processing operations resumed at 9:10 a.m. and northbound vehicle traffic resumed at 10 a.m.
The downtown Calexico port of entry resumed operations after structural engineers examining the port buildings certified them as safe and following a general cleanup of debris, said Billy Whitford, CBP director of the Calexico ports of entry.
"The downtown port of entry again is opened 24-hours daily," he said. "We have resumed normal vehicle and pedestrian processing operations. We expect to process an average of 13,500 cars and 11,000 pedestrians daily at the reopened facility."
Whitford said that although all vehicle traffic had been diverted after the earthquake to the Calexico East Port which operated up to 11 lanes around the clock for northbound vehicle and truck traffic, pedestrian traffic entering the downtown facility continued to be processed safely through two vehicle lanes.
Other CBP agency buildings including the Calexico East port of entry and cargo facility, the Andrade port of entry and the U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station were all spared from damage and personnel injury.
El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey Calhoon said operations at the Calexico station were not affected adversely and agents are continuing to assist community authorities.
"I am very satisfied we were not affected in a manner where operations were negatively impacted," he said. "In fact, we have agents assisting the city of Calexico Police Department with pedestrian and vehicle control. After the quake struck, we helped secure streets so damaged businesses would not be looted or vandalized."
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.