According to new reports, Customs and Border Protection officials were forced to close a bridge at the US-Mexico border on Monday, following the news that a large gathering of would-be migrants had formed on the other side to protest.
US authorities closed the bridge early on Monday morning, approximately around 2am, after hearing chants of “we are going to cross” and witnessing “a large and unruly group formed on the Mexican side” of the border.
The news comes as tensions at the southern border continue to rise amid swelling numbers of illegal crossings by Central American and other migrants, prompting both US and Mexican authorities to begin a scramble to address the problem.
From The Hill:
U.S. authorities closed an international border bridge in El Paso, Texas, early Monday in response to Central American and Cuban migrants protesting on the Mexican side of the border.
The protesters in Ciudad Juárez were chanting “vamos a cruzar” — “we are going to cross” — before Customs and Border Protection officials closed the bridge about 2 a.m., reported CNN.
The decision to close the bridge came as “a large and unruly group formed on the Mexican side,” according to CBP spokesman Roger Maier.
The Mexican National Guard deployed troops to the area, but they did not engage the protesters, according to El Diario.
CBP closed all lanes of traffic on the Paso del Norte Bridge, and reopened pedestrian lanes at 5:25 a.m., Meier said in an email.
According to CBP, as of 2 p.m. local time, private vehicle crossings to El Paso are subject to a 35-minute delay.
The Paso del Norte Bridge is the second-busiest pedestrian and personal vehicle crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border, after the San Ysidro border crossing that links San Diego and Tijuana.