Customs & Border Protection offers holiday season border crossing tips

FAR WEST TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding those who are planning to cross the border during the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s holiday season to employ steps to expedite the crossing experience. CBP is also reminding border crossers that crossing times will likely be longer than normal because of the added traffic and the ongoing deployment of CBP officers from El Paso area ports to the migrant caravan response in California and Arizona

“This is historically a very busy period,” said Hector Mancha, CBP Director of Field Operation in El Paso. “Border crossers should take steps to help themselves and also plan to build extra time into their schedules to accommodate what will be longer than normal processing times. With the deployment of our CBP Officers, coupled with the busy holiday season, border crossing points will be just as saturated as area shopping malls, roadways, and other locations that draw holiday traffic.” To speed the border crossing process, travelers should prepare before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection. Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad to avoid fines and penalties. This would include agricultural products and gifts. It is also best that any gifts are not wrapped in the event CBP needs to perform a more thorough inspection of the product. In addition, individuals should end cell phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.

Also to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival and before making their journey to consult the CBP Know Before You Go guide online.

Knowing that this is a busy period, travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic. This includes SENTRI/Dedicated Commuter Lane (DCL) users. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. They should also travel during non-peak hours if their schedule allows.

CBP also encourages travelers to obtain and utilize radio-frequency identification technology equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions of the border crossing card and resident alien card so that they can utilize designated and marked Ready Lanes. Processing in Ready Lanes is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provides timesaving of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. CBP encourages travelers to obtain RFID entry documents to use Ready Lanes and enroll in trusted traveler programs.

Members of the traveling public can monitor Border Wait Times online or obtain the CBP BWT app on their smartphone via the Apple App Store or Google Play allowing them to check wait times and make an informed decision on where to cross. These wait times are updated hourly. Travelers can also observe current traffic conditions at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton and Ysleta bridges on the city of El Paso website.

CBP strongly encourages travelers to apply for their tourist permits online. Travelers will receive a provisional I-94 after submitting their application and payment online. To finalize the I-94 process, a traveler must present themselves within seven days of their application and submit biometrics, a photo and be interviewed by a CBP officer. Just this week CBP El Paso announced special lanes for those who prepay the I-94 document, which will further expedite entry.

CBP also suggests the drivers insure that their vehicles are properly maintained and mechanically sound and that occupants avoid riding in areas of vehicles not specifically designed to carry passengers. Failure to follow these steps can expose crossers/passengers to carbon monoxide.

Final performances of ‘A Tuna Christmas’ this weekend

ALPINE – This holiday season Sul Ross Drama is taking audiences to the little town of Tuna for a uniquely Texan Christmas celebration.

‘A Tuna Christmas’ takes the stage for the the final time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Nov. 30th , Dec. 1st , and Dec. 2nd . Friday and Saturday curtain times are 8:15 p.m. The Sunday matinee performance is at 2 p.m.

The second of four Tuna plays written by Ed Howard, Jaston Williams, and Joe Sears, A Tuna Christmas tells the story of a town full of eccentrics pushed even further to the edge by a “Christmas Phantom” responsible for vandalizing competitive yard displays.

With constantly changing voices, costumes, and props, Jason Roman and Avery Callaway star as 22 of the town’s residents.

Achieving this feat requires a team of six dressers led by production costume designer, Dona Roman, Sul Ross professor of theatre. Scenic design is by Carolyn Barrientes, assistant professor of theatre. Lighting design and technical production is by Bret Scott, assistant professor of communication, and sound design is by Alyssa Longoria, senior theatre major. The production is stage managed by Alondra Flores, junior theatre major.