US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

New Assistant Port Director Assumes Command During Busy Holiday Season at Laredo Port of Entry

Release Date: 
December 7, 2009

Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection traditionally experiences the busiest volume of international traffic and travelers in the month of December during holiday season. This year the responsibility of the management of that traffic will be the priority of the new Assistant Port Director for Passenger Processing for the Port of Laredo.

CBP is reminding international travelers and the local community that this is one of the busiest travel times of the year at the Port of Laredo. The reminder also serves to announce the arrival of the new Assistant Port Director for Passenger Processing, Mr. Noel Sanchez.

Mr. Sanchez is no stranger to Laredo having started his federal career with the former U.S. Customs Service in 1978 at the Port of Laredo as an entry level Customs Inspector. He moved up the ranks in Laredo, to include Senior Inspector, Customs Supervisor and in 1989 was promoted to Chief Inspector. Prior to his selection to the position of Assistant Port Director for Passenger Processing, Mr. Sanchez served as the Port Director in Progreso, Texas.

Assistant Port Director Sanchez is also no stranger to the volume of traditional traffic that is a part of the holiday season in Laredo. Mr. Sanchez advises that CBP stands ready to process the expected surge in both southbound and northbound traffic that is anticipated during this season that is traditionally known as the Paisano season. CBP will monitor the traffic and maintain open all 12 passenger vehicle traffic lanes at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge and four at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge during peak hours. This year, as in the past, CBP will open the four additional lanes located in the former import lot, when needed to properly manage the traffic. In addition, CBP would like to remind the public that the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge will also be open for operation from 8 a.m. to midnight and has four primary passenger vehicle lanes.

"Although I was born in McAllen, Texas; Laredo is where I first started my federal service and furthered my career. The experiences I gained while in Laredo, managing the complexities of a port as large as Laredo has contributed to my professional growth. I am very happy to be back where I first embarked on my public service career and am very proud to serve my adopted community," said Sanchez.

"Everyone at the port of Laredo welcomes Mr. Sanchez back and I am confident that his leadership will serve to further our CBP mission not only during this busy holiday season but throughout the rest of his tenure here," said Gene Garza, port director in Laredo.

Mr. Sanchez graduated from Texas A&M University in 1976 and has been married for 30 years to his wife, Teresa and has two children.

CBP is also offering helpful hints travelers can follow to help speed up their crossing experience.

To facilitate processing, the traveling public is encouraged to have their identification documents ready, terminate all cell phone calls, and be ready to declare all items acquired in Mexico when they approach the primary inspection booths. If anyone has a question on what products are admissible, please consult our "Know Before You Go" pamphlet available on the CBP Web site.

CBP officers would also like to remind the public that the new Radio Frequency Identification technology that has been in place at all the Laredo border crossings assists in expediting the process if used properly. The traveling public is encouraged to stop their vehicle at the beginning of the lane and wait until they are signaled to move forward. While driving through the lane, all the passengers in the vehicle should hold their travel documents up so that the flat face of the cards show through any window on the "driver's side" of the vehicle. All RFID-enabled documents will be automatically read while transiting down the lane.

As of June 1, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to present a valid passport, U.S. passport card, a state or provincial enhanced driver's license (when or where available, not available in Texas) or a Trusted Traveler Card (SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST/Exprés) when entering the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. U.S. and Canadian citizens without WHTI- compliant documents may face a delay in their processing for entry into the United States.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017