21 de junio de 2017

CRUCES FRONTERIZOS Dan reversazo en cierre dominical de la Garita Morley


Nogales, Az.- U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week announced and then quickly rescinded a decision to close the Morley pedestrian border crossing on Sundays following blowback from the community. 

 On Wednesday, CBP announced on its website and via social media that effective June 18, the Morley gate would be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but closed Sundays. “This change is part of CBP’s continuing program to more efficiently use its personnel and resources,” Port Director Efrain Solis, Jr. said in the announcement.

 However, when the news reached the local community, many reacted with concern that the move would add yet another burden to the struggling downtown economy.

 “For God’s sake, why don’t we dig a ditch and just throw Morley Avenue right down in it?” said Linda Rushton, one of the leaders of a newly formed group that’s been brainstorming ideas to revive the area around the pedestrian port.

 A Nogales International story posted online about the change also generated a number of negative responses, and Solis said he received “plenty of feedback” as well. 

 And so on Thursday, he rescinded the plan.

 “I listened to the community, and I said that if that’s the case, that it’s going to impact economically and everything else, I said fine, we’ll leave it as is and that’s the way it’s going to stay,” he said.

 Solis said the Sunday closures were meant to help CBP maximize its resources in Nogales, where the agency is currently about 150 officers short of full staffing.

 Data showed that traffic at the Morley crossing is typically 30-percent lower on Sundays than other days of the week, and few people use the pedestrian-only gate before noon, he said. At the same time, private vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic at the nearby Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry begins backing up.

Resultado de imagen para calle morley de nogales arizona

 “So we said, ‘OK, why don’t we take the three bodies that we have there every day and shift them over to DeConcini, which is right across,” Solis said. “We can open up two vehicle lanes, or we can open up more pedestrian lanes.

” He said the idea was then shared with several community leaders and groups, including the mayor, chamber of commerce and County Supervisor Bruce Bracker, who is also a Morley Avenue merchant. 

 However, many people were still taken by surprise when the news of the Sunday closures broke, including Sandra Kory, whose family runs a pair of clothing shops on Morley Avenue within a block of the border crossing.

 “Saturdays and Sundays are our busiest days of the week, so it will be hurtful for sure,” she told the NI on Wednesday. “Anything that blocks the crossing of customers or tourists, or anyone crossing to the United States, will affect us.” Kory said Mexican shoppers like the convenience of the Morley crossing, where lines are sometimes shorter than at DeConcini and where they can park near the port and cross back and forth throughout the day to drop off their purchases. And she and Rushton also worried how such a change would impact nearby businesses in Nogales, Sonora, such as the restaurant La Roca, which offers a Sunday buffet. 

“I understand, a lot of the local businesses are struggling to stay above water and certainly we don’t want to be contributors to that,” Solis said Thursday after rescinding the Sunday closures.

 “Obviously that decision did not float well,” he added. “But that’s fine. I have no problem with rescinding an operation – whatever makes sense for the community.” 

 Bracker called the reversal “an excellent decision,” adding later: “We simply cannot afford to have that gate closed. Period.”

 He said the rollout of the closure was handled “very poorly – there was no communication between CBP, local government or the business entities that would have been affected.”

 Asked about Solis’ assertion that he had been one of the people told in advance about the change, Bracker said: “One phone call does not a meeting make. My reaction in that phone call was that it was a terrible decision and we were requesting what other divisions were also being cut as dramatically as Morley for service.” 

Resultado de imagen para calle morley de nogales arizona

Solis said he hopes a new bill to waive polygraph tests for certain CBP applicants will help increase staffing numbers in Nogales, and he said the community can help CBP with the traffic crunch downtown by relying more on the recently renovated and larger Mariposa Port of Entry on the west side of town.

 “Mariposa is a brand-new facility, we seldom see wait times over here, it’s always at DeConcini,” he said during an interview at the Mariposa port. “We tell people, ‘If you come over here in the vehicles where we have more lanes open every now and then, we seldom have wait times up here.’”