San Diego

Crashes, Screams, Punches at Ports of Entry in Tijuana After Border Reopening

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TIJUANA, MEX – NOVEMBER 08: Motorists wait in line to cross the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on November 8, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. Monday was the official opening of the border to non-essential visitors as COVID restrictions eased. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Clashes, screams and even in some cases punches, have been seen in ports of entry in Tijuana, almost a month after the restrictions on the border ended.

In a video shared on TikTok by user Arty94tv, a man is seen furiously asking for explanations from a driver who appears to be getting in line on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

@arty94tv

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The man hit the windows with his hands and the white four-door truck managed to drive away and hit a third car, a situation that those who passed by say is more common than they would like.

"I've seen that there are clashes, I've seen blows, I've seen many situations people, the homeless, get in front of you, lie on the ground to get people in," says Jennifer Garcia, who has been crossing the border for almost 15 years.

Garcia who crossed on Wednesday at the Otay Port of Entry said she has even been affected by this type of confrontations, "I even have a dent in the front of my car because someone forced their way in front of me."

The municipal police of Tijuana reported that they charged about 30 people at the ports of entry.

According to José Fernando Sánchez González, Tijuana's secretary of public security, three walls were placed on Tuesday, "They were placed precisely so that there is no longer the opportunity for more cars to enter."

Well, the problem affects not only those who cross but the trade that lives from the tourists who use that checkpoint.

According to Jorge Macías, president of CANACO in Tijuana, the problems that happen in the ports of entry to return to the United States inhibit tourism and trade in Baja California.

The community that travels every day also through the Otay Port of Entry in Tijuana said that the presence of more officers on the site is essential so they don't get affected by the crimes.

"There needs to be more surveillance, more control," says Carlos Jimenez, who has been crossing from Tijuana to San Diego through the international ports of San Ysidro and Otay for more than 20 years.

However, the police with almost 50 officers guarding the area, said it’s not enough and already plan to hire up to 25 more officers.

"We are not able to cope with having the staff in all the areas we would like," says Sánchez González, adding that the problem will not be solved soon.

"Our checkpoints were already saturated almost the same as the moments before the beginning of the pandemic and when they opened the checkpoint for people who have a visa, that vehicular flow increased by 40%."

Police say they are currently looking to use drones to monitor in real-time the situation at the ports of entry, where there is more line and where the support of more agents is required.

This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.